We are talking about time-management here. And it is the inability to manage their time that causes most salespeople to fail.
I have rarely seen anyone fail in financial services sales due to a lack of product knowledge or lack of prospects to call on (the prospects are everywhere). Nor has anyone failed due to the inability to make a telephone call, introduce themselves to a client, explain what they do, complete a fact-find, prepare a solution, present that solution, and/or close a sale. Taken individually, each of these steps is simple – almost anyone could do the job.
But the ability to be sufficiently disciplined to ensure that you do the important things at the right time and often enough, week-in week-out, is a challenge. Why…?
I believe that, as humans, from the time we are born we are programmed by other people. It starts with our parents, then moves on to our teachers, then our bosses. Even in sports, we have coaches, referees and captains telling us what to do and when to do it. We have grown up accustomed to working to timetables and deadlines and completing tasks that are set by others. Few people have learned how to develop effective time management systems that they will actually voluntarily work to.
The ability to manage your time effectively is of critical importance to your success – because that success will come only if you complete certain specific tasks and achieve a certain minimum level of activity each week. If the required tasks are not completed and the required level of activity is not achieved, you will fail.
You will need to develop and stick to a time management system that works. Do not underestimate the consequences of failure here – as a branch manager in Dublin (many years ago now…!) I recruited around 70 salespeople over a 6 year period and lost 6 (yes, just 6). None failed in their 1st year (because I managed them so intensely). They all worked long hours; they knew their products; they understood and could manage the sales process extremely effectively; and so on…
When I researched it later I identified the one common denominator – they each failed to effectively manage their time. They worked hard but spent long hours doing the wrong things at the wrong times.
I will provide you with some exceptionally valuable tips on time management in a later article.
Time is finite. You cannot save time you can only spend it. Successful salespeople learn how to spend it wisely and effectively.
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