How to Double Your Selling Time – Part 2Trey Gibson
In the previous Spotio Blog post titled “How to Increase Selling Time to Make More Money” I showed you a study put out by Pace Productivity which basically concluded that sales people do a bunch of other stuff other than actually selling.
Here is a graphical representation of what Pace found –
Yes, those other activities are necessary to keep the wheels moving and we can all agree that we will never be able to spend 100% of our time “selling.”
What happens to our bottom line if we can work smarter and shift around time spent elsewhere to apply it to our revenue generating sales activity?
The previous POST focused on using technology to shift 11% of our time spent on Administrative tasks to selling and here are the results:
Pretty impressive to say the least but why stop there?
Let’s find some more wasted time, apply it to selling and see what happens.
A reminder of what the new graph after transitioning time from Admin to Selling:
The other two areas where an excess amount of time are spent is Travel and Planning.
As an outside sales rep travel is in the job description so we aren’t going to be able to eliminate it all together but what you can do is become more efficient.
One great way to save time and even money is pack a snack and lunch instead of stopping somewhere. That way you can eat on the go. If you can save two stops a day for eating then you would gain at least another 30 minutes a day or 2.5 hours a week! Not to mention a hundred bucks a week or so.
Scheduling Sales Calls in Proximity
Thats a good start but I think the biggest savings will come from scheduling your sales calls in such a way that they are located close to each other. A map can visually show you where you are going in a few seconds. Much quicker than you can get from a spreadsheet or calendar. You need to be able to take a quick look at a map and see where your customers are at.
This is easy to do when planning out your week and you can look at a map. It will be a little trickier if you have a customer or prospect call in that is requesting your presence across town. You have to do what you have to do so just make sure that when you get to the next location you follow the next section.
Have an Hour Break? Stop by to Check In or Make some more Attempts
So if I get a call from a prospect that says stop by this coming Thursday around 1pm then I am going to pull them up on the map and see who else is in the area that I can call and set an appointment with.
Do you have a current customer there you can pop in on to check and see how your product is working for them? When they say your product and impeccable service is the next best thing to sliced bread then go ahead and ask them in they know anybody else you might be able to help out?
When looking at a map of your prospects and customers you will be able to visually see in just a few seconds other opportunities for stopping in or generating sales.
Don’t have any in the area? Not a problem, we are sales people, we cold call.
If you are in a residential neighborhood this means you can 6-pack by going to the house on either side of where you are and the three across the street. Still have time? Don’t stop there, go ahead and knock out the rest of the street.
Whenever you have a name to refer to when cold calling you will have a warmer reception. Need a potential opener? HERE is a past post where I go over that.
For B2B sales there are a few free apps that can help you locate similar businesses around where you are at.
For instance, if you sell merchant processing to restaurants you would do a search for restaurants within your proximity.
Foursquare is a popular one for this.
And you can check out one called Localscope that takes the Foursquare information and combines it with several other business listing services like Yelp, Google and Facebook to give you a comprehensive list of what is around you.
By doing this you really aren’t saving on travel time but you are adding to selling time that you would otherwise be sitting in your car or hanging out. Even if you made a point to try and contact another 5 people/companies for every lead you are sent on your book of business WILL go up.
Get There Quicker
I covered Waze in Part 1 of this post but it is worth mentioning here again. Since finding this gem I am all about alternate routes during traffic. Using crowd sourcing Waze knows how the traffic is along your route and can provide you with alternate directions. This alone has saved me hours of time just during my commute home! Check it out and you won’t be disappointed.
So how much time did we save and add to Selling? From 13% travel time down to at least 8% travel time. Let’s mark it as 5% saved and added straight to the piece of the pie for selling thus bringing it up to 38%.
I learned all about planning in my second year of college. I was a mediocre highschool student to say the least. I graduated 264 out of 500 and didn’t get accepted to the college I wanted to go to. So I went the junior college route to get my grades up then hopefully transfer in.
It turns out this junior college was no walk in the park. They were serious about it! I brought my same lacadazical attitude to studying there as I had in high school and I didn’t get much better results.
I ended up transferring to Texas Tech where my parents had gone and I had several friends. I decided I was going to go about things a little differently this time around and figure it all out.
What I did was a little bit of studying each day. One hour in the library after my classes to learn the material a little at a time so when the final rolled around I didn’t have to cram which I was no good at anyway.
Fast forward 4 years and I ended up with not only a bachelor degree but also a MBA in management and marketing all with a 3.9 GPA.
Not a bad turnaround. I attribute this all to planning and doing a little bit at a time.
Thats great Trey, congrats on your college hero days but how the heck does that apply to me?
I’ll tell ya.
Do a little bit of admin activity after each sales call or prospect you call on to mark down what happened, take notes and make the next step.
Don’t even think about telling yourself that you don’t need to take notes after each visit because you will “remember it next time you are there” or put it on a sticky note and attach it to your dash.
This is a recipe for failure.
Also, don’t plan on going back to the office at the end of the day and entering your notes into a computer or CRM there. This is double entering (notebook then computer) and you will forget most if not all of what you were going to put in anyway.
We made Spotio a simple mobile app so that as you go about your day knocking on doors, visiting potential customers and making new ones you can mark down what happens after each one. It takes a few seconds, is put in our database and is safe and sound.
I was out training with a large company this week and one of the managers was preaching to his team that the “Fortune is in the Follow Up.” This is absolutely true so make sure and take a minute or two after each sales attempt to record what happened and if need be set a follow up date and time for the next task.
Imagine after each attempt you make, prospect you talk to your customer you talk to you need to set the next task right then. In Spotio we use the Date/Time option to lock it in stone and put it on your calendar so when you wake up for the day you can look at your calendar and have a list of exactly what needs to happen for that day.
If you don’t use Spotio then put the appointments or follow ups straight to your phones calendar and you will achieve the same result.
By doing a little bit of planning at a time you will be
1) more efficient in executing these tasks,
2) actually get them done because they are on a calendar and
3) save planning time because you won’t have to “Cram” by sitting at the end of the day or beginning of the day trying to remember what you are supposed to do. It will already be done for you.
Here’s the Results
By properly planning we can save another 5% from that slice of the pie to add to our selling time so what do we end up with?
Wrapping it Up
From where we started to where we ended up we have basically DOUBLED the amount of selling time for the average outside sales rep. It involved using tools, technology, common sense and work to get it done.
What does this mean for you? How are you effected by doubling your selling time? It should be nothing but a move in a positive direction but don’t take my word for it. Give it a try and let me know.