How much time do you actually spend selling? (Yes you, the one trying to scroll to the next article)
If I was to ask you how much time do you actually spend selling each day what answer would you give me, 6 hours, 8 hours, maybe 7 hours, but how accurate would that answer be, are you spending all of that time actually selling to people?
What you are about to read isn’t new but it’s still astonishing, it must be more than 25 years ago that a previous sales manager asked me this very question, my answer at the time was, of course, all of my time, but after taking me through a very similar process to the one I am about to take you through my mindset changed from that moment and the reality of how much time is wasted during a day became crystal clear to me.
As a result of that intervention I’ve always been conscious of how I use my time during a working day and as a trainer and business owner that focus on time has become even more critical over the years.
What I want to achieve from you reading this is to get you thinking honestly about how you spend your time during a working day and challenge you to think differently about how you spend your time.
The reality is that most salespeople spend as little as 30 – 90 minutes per day actually selling, now on the surface that seems pretty harsh but let’s break down a typical day.
So, let’s say you are a committed, keen professional and you are in the office from 8.30 am and you leave at 6 pm so that’s a working day of 9 and ½ hours so let’s break down a typical day for a typical office-based or home based salesperson and see where your time is typically spent.
Now this part requires you to take a deep breath and to be totally honest with yourself, we all think we spend our time effectively but the reality is that we could all be more productive with our time.
Non Sales Communication and Non-Selling Admin
How much time do you spend reading and responding to emails that aren’t directly related to current sales opportunities or generating cash and how much time does that take out of your day, believe it or not, the average salesperson spends somewhere in the region of 30 minutes on non-sales-generating communication
Next, we tackle no sales-related admin, this takes up another part of a salespersons day and on average it’s 30 minutes and it’s amazing how these little tasks eat up your day, an email here, a question answered for a colleague here, and rather than tackling these in blocks we try and tackle these as they come in losing more time.
So we’re already down to 8 and a half hours.
We all need to take a break and I’m definitely not suggesting or recommending not taking a break, not taking regular breaks is simply not good for your well-being, if you also add to that loo breaks which I almost forgot,(well we all need to go and there’s no denying this fact), but it eats into our working day none the less and this will probably be another 90 minutes.
That now takes us to 7 hours
Internal Meetings and Calls
Ah yes, the good old internal meeting, we’ve all been there and continue to be there in the dreaded internal meeting or call, you know the type of thing a meeting to discuss the meeting we had last week, you remember to review the meeting we had the previous week, now joking aside some internal meetings are important but there are times when excuses can be made but even then on average a salesperson can find that another hour of their day disappears on internal meetings.
Wow there’s only 6 hours to go (it’s not looking good is it)
Now where would a salespersons day be without the odd distraction, you know the type of thing the meme shared by a colleague the video of the dancing cat or talking dog shared by your nearest and dearest, now I’m not suggesting these aren’t mildly amusing, maybe even entertaining, but it’s not selling is it, so let’s be generous and say we only spend 30 minutes being distracted, (raised eyebrow from almost every sales manager across the country)
So that's another 30 minutes gone and yes you’ve guessed it still no selling and we are down to 5 and half hours by only being distracted for 30 minutes (there’s that raised eyebrow again)
CRM, Reporting and Forecasting
Like it or loath it CRM is a vital piece of our sales toolkit, battle chest call it what you will, the simple fact is that when you use a CRM system efficiently and productively you will make more sales, obviously it doesn’t make or close the sale but being able to harness technology effectively is a key element to becoming more productive with our time and time spent in this area is beneficial but it does take up time and on average salespeople spend 90 minutes of their day using CRM.
So where does that take us, let’s see ah yes 4 hours
Ah at last we’ve moved onto something that is getting us closer to selling and 60 minutes in this area is definitely time well spent but I can’t help thinking that we are cheating ourselves if we are only spending 60 minutes on average per day on lead generation but something is better than nothing
So we are now left with 3 hours
Pre Sales Activities Research
In today’s world research isn’t just important in many cases it’s critical depending on who you are calling but even a brief browse of the CRM history takes up a few minutes but slightly more in-depth research on website certainly takes up a fair chunk of our time and on average that’s 90 minutes in our working day.
We are getting close now surely there can’t be anything else between us and selling time …. Oh no there is
I’m potentially being generous here again but all those little elements all add up, the time we spend introducing ourselves, getting past gatekeepers, being on hold and of course voicemail, this probably takes another 30 minutes from our day.
So we are into the last hour of our time
Pure Selling Time
Well we made it (just) and we’ve potentially given ourselves a full 60 minutes to focus on the very thing we are paid to do and that’s selling, but when you break it down is that really enough time, yes you should be shaking your head (the clue is in the job title SALES PERSON) so we are probably not spending 35% of our time selling, it could be as little as 10% of our time is spent actually selling.
Ok so now we are all well and truly rocked to our very core and the realisation that much of our working day is taken up with things that don’t make us money, what are we going to do about it?
When I take a team through the 12 critical sales factors, teams quickly realise the correlation time has on 6 of these factors, having a winning mindset, being organised and being productive along with the ability to harness technology, being consistent, and adopting a growth mentality are all heavily influenced by how you manage your time.
The results and the transformation I see when I share this with a team really makes such a difference to how productive they are and when they realise how little time they spend on the important activities and how much time is being eroded by non-productive and non-sales-driving activities.
The most critical change I witness comes when they actually start spending more time on selling activities and more time speaking to their customers and prospects and this without exception results in an even more valuable transformation . . . . more sales.
Now there will be some of you reading this that will be thinking to yourself, well I don’t have half of these things to deal with in my day, so I will ask the very same questions I recently asked another salesperson I work with.
Firstly if you don’t have these things eroding your day, what are you doing with your time?
The second question . . .
Imagine how your sales figures would look if you spent more of that time actually selling?
Something to think about isn’t it!
It certainly made this particular salesperson think, and in the following two weeks they posted a record month and will be taking home one of the biggest commissions payments of their career
Now that is certainly something to think about.
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