When you look closely at growing sales production, the one great equalizer is time. Skills, knowledge, experience, customer, products, or opportunity – all of them can vary. Time creates the level playing field. We each get 24 hours in a day, and there’s a limit to how many of them you can or want to devote to work.

In sales, your decision to allocate time to one deal vs. another can mean landing (or losing) your biggest sale ever. Concentrating your time on a specific group of sales activities could propel you toward a record-breaking quarter or plummet you toward a prolonged, painful slump.

High performers approach time management differently and there’s a lot we can learn from their choices. As you look at how you are tackling your sales goals, consider these 7 steps:

  1. Know your True North – get clear about your goals.

    There are so many ways to get distracted from the few critical priorities that demand your attention every day. Written reminders can help keep your goals within reach as you work and help keep you focused on tasks and initiatives that will drive the most value for your business. Each time you take on a new project, ask yourself whether it satisfies your True North goals, and allocate your time accordingly.

  2. Seize the “fast start” advantage.

    Create your daily plan or to-do list before the day begins so you can start your day working your plan, not planning your work. Before you finish for the day, decide how you will use your time tomorrow so you can be sure your important priorities as well as the tasks you like least (and tend to put off) are scheduled into your day.

  3. Remember that you are definitely a sales guru (but you may not be a genius).

    Be realistic and pragmatic about how much time a task is likely to require of you compared to how much it’s “worth” to your sales efforts.
    Important tasks need high-quality attention, and you may want to consider breaking down large time commitments into chunks so you can tackle them more easily. Multi-tasking rarely works, so avoid overscheduling your day and allow plenty of space for the projects and tasks that need to get done. Knock out comparable or related tasks at one time so you gain speed and quality as you complete them repeatedly. That focus also means you’ll avoid the frustration of jumping from one task to the next constantly and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing significant items on your list.

  4. Take breaks when you need them.

    During periods of intense work, don’t forget to take short stretch breaks. Get up and walk around a bit for a couple of minutes, even if you’re keeping your mind focused on the task. But don’t wander too far; interrupting your workflow too dramatically can mean that getting back in the groove is difficult. Stay close to your task while giving yourself both the physical and mental space to breathe, get your blood moving, and come back to your work energized and refreshed.

  5. Fill the gaps with meaningful work.

    Sales schedules are unpredictable — appointments cancel, delays happen. Spend time deciding how unexpected “wait” time will be used so you can quickly tackle another important sales priority. What project or task will you work on while you’re waiting? And when you’ve got momentum or have those unexpected “wow” moments when you suddenly gain a significant sales advance, push hard to keep rolling while your confidence is high.

  6. Skip calling on the tax accountant until May.

    Study your sales productivity pattern. Even the best time management plan gets nowhere if customers don’t respond — you have to know how their business cycles works, too. Set your schedule and prioritize your tasks so you have the best chance of engaging with customers when they are most likely to be available. This varies by industry, company size and job function. Take time to figure this out — you won’t land a sales appointment with a tax accountant during the month of April.

  7. Use intelligent automation.

    Try templates, trackers and tools. Push yourself and your sales technology team to find automation tools that eliminate repetitive and administrative tasks. How much time do you spend copying information from one place to another, typing notes, looking for sales information, sending standard communications, digging out data or pulling information into spreadsheets? There are apps for every need and type of sales. Get in the habit of checking out new technologies each week to find what fills the gap. (And put www.Traq355.com on your list for this for the week!)