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is sales just time management?

good morning,

I have been selling advertising for the last three years, so i'm no where near as experienced as some of you, before sales, i was a self employed programmer .. this may have influenced the way i think/write the following ..

in my mind, getting better at sales, is simply a better return ($$$) on my time

and when i step back and look at myself, and other members of the sales team. I see nothing more than a matter of the return on your time spent

1) at your desk
2) between your desk and the fax machine or another desk
3) on the phone
4) waiting for your call to be transferred
5) listening to the phone ring before it is answered
6) being put on hold
7) making a coffee
8) waiting for the fax to come through
9) driving

SO little time is spent SELLING.
I don't know about you, but this is just a terrible use of our own resources.

In fact the 'to do' items above could be broken down into minutes and even seconds, none of which actually help you sell more.

There are only 8 hours in the day. You only sell when you are .. what? presenting .. ? closing .. ?

If our target is FIVE sales a week, that's ONE per day.

5 sales a week SHOULD NOT be related to how many hours you work a week.

If you could condense 1 week of work into one day, you could accomplish 5 sales a day.

If you could do this you would have 25 sales a week.

There is nothing stopping you and me from getting one weeks' worth of sales in one day - because I do sell 5 every week.

The only thing stopping ME is ..

1) *ring ring* *ring ring* *ring ring* *ring ring*
2) james is in a meeting at the moment can i take a message
3) please hold
4) can you send me a fax with your proposal
5) james has left for the day can you call tomorrow.
6) typing (i type 80-100wpm)
7) using my pen
8) using my calculator
9) looking at the rate card


I sell completely over the phone (so i DONT waste time driving).

I want to make those 5 sales a week in 1 day. And all the sales training in the world isn't going to help me because I probably only speak to decision makers 30m in a day.

I get $x sales per week because we work $y hours.

That's why i come in FRIDAY
That's why I come in THURSDAY
That's why I come in WEDNESDAY etc etc

All because i didn't have enough time on monday .. something .. i could have done on monday if there wasn't so much time wasting.

So far i've only come up with one solution to this problem .. if you don't think this is a problem, tell me .. to illustrate lets take an extreme example.

lets say you are selling a can of coke and your commission is $0.25c. lets say you are selling over the phone.
your unproductive activities include:
1) looking at the number to call and finding the numbers on the phone to dial
2) introducing yourself
3) asking for the dm's name
4) receiver asking what the call is regarding
5) you reply
6) receiver telling you to send a fax and the decision maker is busy
7) asking what the fax number is
8) receiver replies
9) hanging up
10) batching the activity so you can do it later
11) finding another number
12) dialing, waiting for the receiver to answer ..
53) finally 78 minutes later you make a sale and you've earned $0.25c

if you keep this up you'll have about $1.50 by the end of the day. not very productive ..

although there isn't a solution, you can greatly improve the situation by selling something that pays more per sale. you can do this by selling something with a larger revenue per sale, and therefore, probably a larger commission.

you need to sell something worth $100,000s to minimize unproductivity endured per sale.

your thoughts and comments please !!!

perhaps you all know this? - by luka.
Time management plays an important role in sales but sales is more than time management. Other ways to improve your production with the limited time you're working with include better prospecting and better selling. ;) - by AZBroker
Let's use your coke commission example and back into the equation from the other side.

Let's say that to justify being in sales your break even income has to be $100,000. per year. Divide that by 12 months and you get $8,333. per month. There are 22 working days in a month assuming you're working five days a week, so that's $378.79 per day you need to make in commission.

What kind of sale can you make once a day to create $378.79 in commission?

Chuck - by Sales Pro 1000
chuck, i like your example!

therefore to sell something worth $378.79 in commission, we would literally RUN OUT OF TIME if the item was worth $1000 and generated $100 in commission. because we would need to sell 3.78 items per day, day in, day out.

Or a signed sale every 1.85 hours.

This would include prospecting, finding the decision maker, speaking to the decision maker, making an offer.

The only way I can see around this is ..

What kind of sale can you make once a day to create $378.79 in commission?
You would either need to
1) increase the commission per sale, and so you would probably sell a product or service that costs more to begin with.
2) increase the life time value of a customer so you are not forever cold calling, this customer would therefore generate revenue for you without all the necessary cold calling of acquiring a new one - by luka.
Hi luka.,

You really zero in on a great issue: time management. I agree time management is a key element in maximizing sales.

But there are also some other variables in your coke example that I'd like to offer. Any of these will allow you to make more than the buck-fifty a day you described:

1. Sell 2 or 3 or 50 cans of coke to your buyer instead of 1 can, or sell a bottle instead of a can (increase your average sale - that takes sales skill).
2. Ask your customer that just bought from you for the names of 2 or 3 people who she thinks might be interested in buying coke also (ask for referrals - a selling skill).
3. When your customer buys coke, ask him when he'll want to buy more coke so you can plan ahead (planning and customer relationship management - a sales skill).
4. Sell the coke for more money, thereby raising your profits and commissions (better salespeople can charge more than average salespeople because they're better at selling!).
5. Selling some of the prospects who are currently refusing to buy from you (that takes improved qualification skills, presentation skills, etc.).
6. Sell a Dr. Pepper to go along with that Coke (or a bag of pretzels or a hot dog or two).

You wrote, "...all the sales training in the world isn't going to help me because I probably only speak to decision makers 30m in a day" So, really, you've got just two choices: increase the amount of time that you speak to decision makers each day (which is kind of what you're suggesting with your time management topic), or sell more to those decision makers that you do get to talk to (or do both).

I'm a sales trainer, so of course I believe that improving your selling skills (just like improving golf skills or parenting skills or management skills) will yield rewards, and that those rewards will show up in your paycheck and in your level of job satisfaction.

The best to you! - by Skip Anderson
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