Sales productivity in a time limited week
As the weather warms up, bank holidays and annual leave days increase, but more often than not, our sales targets and key performance indicators are not reduced. This leaves us with a time deficit, meaning we simply do not have enough days in the week to complete all of our tasks. In this week’s blog, we’re going to help you improve your time management skills, and perhaps even increase your sales at the same time!
1.Prioritise your ‘to do’ list
This is the first item on the list, for obvious reasons, we prioritised it. Initially, decide what you’re not going to do. If it doesn’t need to be done, and you’re strapped for time, it can wait. To assist you with this, rate each item with the MOSCOW strategy. The MOSCOW strategy is a prioritisation technique which involves rating each item in the following way;
Must do – These are items that are inescapable. You must do these items, or consequences will be dire
Should do – If you have the time, these things should be done. There will be consequences if these tasks are not completed, but they will not be as major as if you had not completed a ‘must do’ item
Could do – Once the ‘must do’s’ and the ‘should do’s’ are, well, done, you can turn your attention to the ‘could do’s’, these are things that could be done, and are beneficial, but equally, could be left
Would do – These are items that would be done if you had a great deal more time, manpower, or resources. Until you receive these things, these items are not even up for consideration.
Once your list is separated into the Must do’s, Should do’s, Could do’s and Would do’s, disregard anything listed as Could do or Would do, these can be returned to when time is less precious. We are left with the Must do’s and the Should do’s, prioritise your Must do’s at the beginning of the week, only moving onto your Should do’s once they are completed.
2.Use time scarcity to boost sales
Us sales people know, that every challenge is an opportunity in disguise, and time limits are no exception. Use this time scarcity to create a real sense of urgency in your sales methods, think time limited sales, or product shortages. This technique should not be over utilised, as you risk devaluing your product or services, but when used sparingly, it can be effective in creating a short term spike in sales and transactions.
3.Work smarter, not harder
When under time restrictions, sales people often focus on pushing every last ounce of effort into their week. In instructions that may seem counterintuitive, we’d advise against this technique. By overloading ourselves, we risk burnout, and inadvertent mistakes. Working smarter is a far more effective method than merely working harder.
But what is ‘working smarter’? By working smarter, we streamline our practices, and complete our tasks as efficiently as possible. This does involve the prioritisation we previously mentioned, but it also involves asking if tasks are necessary in the first place, and if we are utilising the most appropriate techniques for undertaking them.
New technology is an important ally in transforming our work from hard to smart. Time consuming (and often wearisome) tasks such as meetings, can be converted into quick online conversations with apps such as Slack, social media coordination can be scheduled in advance with programmes such as Hootsuite, and diary management can be kept in check with apps such as Wunderlist.
Again, this may appear to be counterintuitive advice, but if your time is limited, you need to be too. Embrace the power of saying ‘No’ to tasks that are not completely necessary, limit your efforts to commitments you have time for and really care about.
Ensure that the tasks you do undertake are also time limited; no matter how much of a perfectionist you are, it is better to complete four tasks well, than only complete one fantastically. Calculate and allocate the time for each task ahead of time, and stick to this schedule. Ensure you create this schedule with breaks also – working smart means stopping for a rest every now and then!
5.Focus your attention
Juggling five jobs at once might make us feel productive, but it rarely leads to success. Devote your full attention to whichever task you are currently on, this means turning off your email notifications, putting your phone on silent, and removing those headphones. If you’ve followed rule four, each job should have an allotted time limit, and nothing should encroach on this time. If you struggle to avoid checking the news (or your social media) for an hour, utilise an app such as Focusme, which blocks your from accessing predefined websites within an alloted time.
Whichever of these techniques you use, and however long you have away from work – leave your work at work, and enjoy your break. You will return to work refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to increase your sales further.
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