Big Ben has a poignant quote regarding the importance of time inscribed at its base. It reads: “No minute lost ever comes back again. Take heed and see you do nothing in vain.”
How you manage time makes the difference between true sales success and mediocre performance. How do you use your time? Does your day consist of rote activities, meaningless contacts and timewasters? Or are you diligently using each day as efficiently as possible? Staying focused and using time wisely boil down to the small actions you take throughout the day.
1. Create and review your to-do list before going to bed.
Take a few minutes in the evening to outline and prioritize the next day. Permitting a “brain-dump” before heading to bed allows you to be more relaxed and sleep better. Get in the habit of developing and maintaining a list of specific things that will need your attention each day. Checking off details on this list is not only satisfying, it also enables you to accomplish more in less time. Aim to do the most important or difficult tasks or projects early in the day.
2. Examine the month ahead and anticipate obstacles.
Are there big projects or opportunities that need extra planning and “time blocking”? Anticipate what's on your calendar. Your sales appointments are the bread and butter of your business and need advance preparation. The worst appointments are always those that you don’t prepare for. “Winging it” should never be part of an appointment.
3. Refine your day.
Do you know what your time is worth? Commit to doing activities and tasks that will create an income that is worthy of your time. Examine what your hourly rate is and focus on the activities that produce that rate—consistently. Eliminate unproductive activities that don’t produce your hourly rate.
This step is critical to allow you to concentrate on the high-priority items or activities that will improve your business, like prospecting.
5. Take time for the big picture.
You need to periodically examine your life and business plans. If you haven’t developed these plans, do so. A focused plan allows you to inspect each project, person or activity and determine the time and effort associated with it. Learn the advantages of using OPEE (other people’s energy and expertise) and delegate responsibilities whenever possible.
Remember: Always be punctual. To be slightly early sends a message of purpose, courtesy and respect—to others and yourself—and ensures better results over time. Being late, even by a minute, is rude.
Tom Ninness is vice president and regional production manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver. He is also the president of Summit Champions Inc. and creator of the “The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success.” For more information, go to www.90dayjourney.com, www.summitchampions.com or contact Ninness at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-221-4396.