The life of a professional salesperson is filled with distractions.
Everyday there are moments when I’m juggling customers, prospects, emails, phone calls, “fires”, legal, finance, sales operations, CRM data, my manager, etc.
And for someone who works from home there are other distractions to consider…my wife, the couch, TV, social media, exercise, lunch, grocery shopping, laundry, etc, etc, etc.
There is not a day that goes by where at some point I feel I’m being pulled in 10 different directions and my attention is spread thin.
It’s 10:42am…do I call a prospect? Do I answer emails? Do I follow up with legal? Should I start prepping for the big software demonstration next week?
Do I do A-B-C or X-Y-Z? Sound familiar?
As an Account Executive, especially one that works from home, I’ve always had to be organized and proactive in my approach with activities. And because of my Sandler sales training I apply the dichotomy of PAY TIME and NO-PAY TIME.
If you’ve never heard of the concept then you’ll the love information below as I go in-depth into each set of activities. The one thing you need to remember is that there is a right and wrong time for each activity.
Do you know which is which?
Pay Time vs No-Pay Time
The above are distractions we all face. And for the most part (on the work side for this argument) they are all important. However not all of them are urgent.
Is reviewing your most recent sales training important? ABSOLUTELY! Does it have to be done during normal business hours? Probably not.
Is returning a prospects phone call important? ABSOLUTELY! Will it be as effective if you call after their business hours? Probably not.
See what I mean?
Today I want to go into more detail about how I organize my time and daily activities and why I separate the important from the urgent by applying the concepts of pay time and no-pay time.
Pay Time Is When You Sell
There are two criteria I use to define pay time activities.
- Activities that have a direct impact on making sales and earning commissions, and
- Activities that need to be completed during your customer’s normal business hours.
Pay time activities therefore should take up the vast majority of your working hours.
Notice that #2 does not say your normal business hours, instead it’s their business hours. That’s an important distinction.
If you live in Los Angeles and you’re prospecting on CFOs in Southern California then 8am-5pm PST might be the opportune pay time. However if you live in Los Angeles and you’re prospecting on CEOs in New York, then your pay time may be a bit skewed to 5am-2pm PST to accommodate their business hours.
Going back to #1, pay time activities should always have a direct impact on you going to the bank. Some activities that I consider pay time activities include:
- In Person Meetings – There’s No Substitution For Face-To-Face Meetings
- Live or Remote Demonstrations
- Cold Calling Prospects (Best Prospecting Methods [Infographic])
- Contract Negotiations (Three Ways To Make Contract Negotiations Easier)
- Asking For Referrals (How To Exponentially Build Your Business Through Referrals)
- Inbound Lead Follow Up
- Customer Follow Up (specific to a deal)
- Price Negotiations
- Attending Trade Shows (Best Trade Show Giveaways)
- Trade Show Attendee Follow Up (My Trade Show Follow Up Email)
These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what I consider pay time activities. But as you can see they all revolve around the two criteria I mention above.
These are all activities that directly or indirectly lead to closing sales and putting commissions in my bank account. None of them are busy work. None of them can be done after hours.
No-Pay Time Is Everything Else
No-pay time refers to every other activities that does it’s best to steal your time.
Yes “stealing” is what they are doing because they are not activities which directly impact money filling your coffers.
Similar to pay time, no-pay time has it’s own set of criteria.
- Activities that have an indirect or no impact on making sales and earning commissions, and
- Activities that do not need to be completed during your customer’s normal business hours and often are best when outside their business hours.
As a software sales rep I have two favorite no-pay times right now.
The first is between 6am and 8am. This is because my company HQ is located near Cleveland, OH and is on EST. For them it’s 9am to 11am. It’s early enough in the day that my emails will be at the top of their inbox and it’s before most people go to lunch over there. I’m more likely to get a response from them that will help me with a pay time activity.
My second favorite no-pay time frame is between 6pm and 7pm. This is after I’ve finished doing some late day prospecting and before my wife usually gets home from work. I’ll often reply to non urgent emails, review sales training videos, read industry news, be active on social media developing my professional brand, and send my Regional Director any action items from the day.
Some other no-pay activities include.
- Updating CRM data
- Organizing My Desk
- Updating Customer Contact Info
- Finding Prospects (Top Prospecting Research Tools)
- Planning Your Prospecting Activities (Sales Prospecting Tips [SlideShare])
- Reviewing Client Files (for up-selling)
- Sales Workshops (You Don’t Need Santa To Have A Great Workshop)
- Goal Setting and Planning
- Market research (How To Establish Yourself As An Expert In Any Industry)
- Drive Time
Yes it’s true that these activities don’t directly lead to sales, but they are still part of your job and require time be set aside to do them.
The main point I am trying to make is that you need to organize your time effectively as a sales person. I know I’ve made the mistake of asking myself if I should be organizing my contact list at 1pm in the afternoon.
Avoid NO PAY TIME activities during PAY TIME. You’ll see the difference in your bank account.
~ Johnny Bravo
Image courtesy of pakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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