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Improve Your Time Management for Sales

Time, and the lack of it, is the biggest barrier between you and your success. 

As a sales professional, it is imperative that you get the most out of your day to achieve your targets and your personal goals. Imagine your life as a giant hourglass, the top-half running empty and, inside the bottom-half, we are being drowned by so much work, restraints, appointments, responsibilities and commitments. 

In our daily struggle towards our goals, time and the lack of it becomes our enemy. Here we detail some simple and effective methods to enable you to get more done within the most precious of resources, TIME!

Time Management

Time Management is an important skill and in practical terms, we must recognise the importance of every moment and to be aware not to waste it. Here are the necessary pre-requisites to help you manage your time effectively:

  1. Think of goals and aims as necessary achievements - you simply have to achieve them. Work towards personal and business goals and use these to be your driving force to develop good time management habits.

  2. Think of the time frame in achieving goals and aims. Also, the impact of disturbances between now and your goal.

  3. Be realistic and expect changes. Be flexible and have an open mind to change. Nothing in life is certain and being totally rigid will probably mean you'll be playing 'catch up' at some point along your path. Build in contingencies because, as John Lennon once said, 'Life is what happens to you whilst you're busy making other plans'

  4. Know your work style and preferences

  5. Know your environment (home and work) and the impact it can have upon working to time deadlines.

  6. Make Plans and task lists.

  7. Avoid 'Time Robbers'

What's the Most Important? Create a habit today: Task Lists

Let's face it, 24 hours in a day is not enough time for many people to do everything they need to do! 

It is, therefore, imperative that people perform their activities in the order of priority by making a task list. Ideally, the list would be done the evening or night before.

If not, first thing in the morning. Then simply number the tasks with one of the five major task groups:

  1. Important and Urgent - Must complete today.

  2. Not Important but Urgent - Should do today

  3. Not Urgent but Important - Could do today if I complete the 'A's and 'B's

  4. Delegate to someone else

  5. Not Important and Not Urgent - Eliminate

Do this task in Excel or another spread sheeting software, insert the task in column 'B' and assign the number of priority in column 'A' you can then easily 'sort' them into a list of priority. This simple task will enable you to focus on the important things. Prioritise by asking yourself of the consequences if you don't do the task.

Time Robbers

Almost everyone (if not everyone) is guilty of giving in or becoming victim to these time thieves one way or another. In fact, most of these time robbers have become normal parts of people's daily lives.

  1. TV - If you really want to save time, turn off the Telly! Be strict in limiting your watching time. Be disciplined to watch only the programs you really want to watch. Don't channel flick. Better still, don't watch at all! 

  2. Phone - The phone can actually be a time-saver if you know how to use it properly. Instead of emailing someone, engaging in a phone call can allow you to get the answers right away. "Saying it" is definitely faster than "writing it."

  3. Queuing and Commuting - Nothing could test your patience more than waiting for your turn in long queues. Pick a schedule where you least expect many people to show up. For example, go to the supermarket on weekdays or do an internet shop. Ask yourself is my time worth more than, less than or equal to the £5 delivery charge. If it's worth more, get the supermarket to do your shopping and get it delivered at the time that fits in best with your schedule! Avoid trying to find a bargain by shopping around by browsing shops. Research online beforehand and then enter the shopping centre like a targeted hunter homing in on his prey - straight to the shop you need, pick up the reserved item and pay - even better - buy it online! In case you really have no choice but to wait in line in the queue, then don't waste your time complaining. Do something productive like listening to a book on your MP3 player, listening to educational MP3s, or writing your future plans in your little notebook. Similarly, when commuting, use your time wisely - it's an ideal time to plan your day, check against your goals or listen to educational MP3s.

  4. Taking on too much - Don't present too many choices. People will be confused if you sell them products with too many combinations, varieties, or options. Lots of time will be consumed in deciding which one is really the best. Pause a while every time you are going to do an activity. Always ask yourself, "What can I do along with this task to save more time in the future?" For instance, you are going to buy a birthday card for your friend. By asking the question, you might come up with the decision to buy more birthday cards instead of just one, to give to those who will be having their birthdays later in the year; so you don't have to go to the shop every time there is a birthday.

  5. Emails - Many people check their emails many times during the day, therefore hampering their productivity. In recent research, if you are 'in the zone' for selling and you pause to read an email that you've just received it will take between three and four minutes for you to regain your focus. As email is the biggest waste of time in the modern workplace here are some hints to help: Check your Emails a Maximum of Twice a Day - first thing in the morning and mid afternoon (to catch up with last-minute concerns). Set up Templates - set up templates of standard answers so you can just copy and paste them (or set them up as 'Signatures' on Outlook). Reply Briefly. Answer your emails clearly and to the point. Don't over complicate the explanation. Never reply to spam messages or junk mails - emailing them to ask them not to contact you again seems to get you on more and more unwanted mail lists! Use the Phone - Several minutes spent in replying to emails can be shortened tremendously by just calling the person.

Date published: 26th Feb 2024

Rob Scott, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, Author Photo

About the author

Rob Scott

Rob is the Managing Director of Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff for businesses across a broad range of commercial sectors. Before setting up Aaron Wallis, Rob spent ten years at a specialist Sales and Marketing recruitment division of a £0.5BN recruitment group, leaving in 2007 as Marketing & Sales Director to establish Aaron Wallis.
 
With over 24 years of experience in sales recruitment, Rob is a History graduate with an MBA (Merit) and a PgCert in Management Practice.  In 2007, 2009 and 2013 Rob conducted the most extensive surveys of sales professionals in the UK and is a trusted authority in the sales industry. From guiding employers through the recruitment process to helping candidates find their dream job, Rob's advice has been quoted in leading publications such as Business Insider and The Independent, as well as OnRec, which host The Online Recruitment Awards every year.

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In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

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I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

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The most professional recruitment agency I've ever worked with. Robert Scott was extremely proactive and send me a detailed briefing before each interview, ensuring I was well prepared.

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A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

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P. Fitzsimons, Candidate

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I would highly recommend Aaron Wallis Recruitment, Darren was extremely helpful and provided me with plenty of advice and support throughout the whole process.

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I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!

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The detail put into the preparation for interviews and the detail of the job description was first class. Rob and Simon in particular are amongst the best I've ever dealt with.

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Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

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Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.

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