Stay on the right side of the trouble line
"Genius," Thomas Edison said, "is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." The formula for success in sales is very similar: One percent genius plus 99 percent time management.
Use whatever genius you have to set your goals and then take the necessary steps, one by one, until you reach them. If your steps consistently go in the direction of your goal, you're managing your time wisely. If your tracks wander aimlessly from one point to another, you're on the wrong side of the trouble line, and that's a road to nowhere.
What's the trouble line? David Sandler, founder of Sandler Training, defined it as the line that divides pay time from no-pay time activities. Pay time is that time when it is possible for a person to be actively engaged in selling. Let's say your scheduled pay time hours are 8:00am to 5:00pm. That means you should be in front of prospects, talking to prospects on the phone, getting appointments, actively obtaining referrals or servicing an existing client during those hours.
Anything else - no matter how pressing, important, or enjoyable - is no-pay time, defined as activities that won't lead directly to a sale. If you're updating your prospect list, planning your week's strategy, or brushing up on product knowledge during those hours, you're on the wrong side of the trouble line. You are expending valuable pay time hours you'll never be able to recover. In most cases you can't meet with clients or make your appointments at other times of the day. So you've squandered your most precious resource: pay time.
If you're on the wrong side of the trouble line, watch out: You're not generating sales; you're just spinning your wheels. Eventually, you're going to run out of gas.
Throughout your pay time period, consider each activity and determine whether it's on the right side or the wrong side of the trouble line. Are you chatting over coffee about your weekend? Wrong! Reading and sending e-mails not related to business? Wrong! Putting out fires in the shipping department? Wrong! While all these activities have their place, they generate no pay. Before you know it, your day is shot and your chances of making a sales or serving your client (i.e., generating income) have vanished.
To avoid wasting pay time, form two daily habits: First, plan your day the night before; don't use up the first hour of the day outlining your schedule. Second, avoid all no-pay activities during your pay time. As the saying goes, plan your work, then work your plan.
Train yourself to treasure your pay time, and use it wisely. You'll be on the right side of the trouble line down the road to success!
Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or firstname.lastname@example.org .