Time Spent Selling

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

One of the things that frustrates me when I’m in-field with media salespeople is the constant cry of “I’m too busy to do this” and by “this” they actually mean going out and meeting with customers!

Seriously, how can you be too busy to meet with customers? What more important work could a salesperson have?

Unfortunately, research supports their claim. According to a study published on the Forbes website nearly 60% of a field salesperson’s time is spent in non-revenue generating activities! So that leaves around 40% for selling (for inside salespeople it’s worse).

Interestingly, the same study says that only 22% of salespeople have some kind of time management system in place.

Activity vs. results

Often sales people, particularly poor performers (and poorly performing teams) confuse activity with accomplishment. They get so caught up following through account queries, doing paperwork and reports, checking ad material that they actually don’t do the “sell” bit that their role demands.

The late Ernest Hemingway summed it up: “Never mistake motion for action”

Just because you show up at work every day doesn’t mean you are getting anything done; and focussing on the number of hours you work, confuses the issue further.

The problem with “busy” is that “productive” gets postponed until Friday and then never gets done at all.

So, what does it take to get the sales role done right? And done right often enough to drive results?

Measure your activity

Here’s the challenge. This week record the actual time you are in selling mode – I define selling as: 

  • researching/identifying prospects
  • phone/F2F prospecting and qualifying
  • setting appointments 
  • selling/discovery meetings
  • writing, presenting or following up on proposals

Anything else is administrative.
At the end of the week look at the total time and compare that to the research. What percentage of your work time was selling time? My guess it will approximate the research.
Making a change

Think about it. If you could increase your selling time from say, 40% to 50% of your week what difference will that make? 
Try this. Block out time in your planner for selling activity:

  • Ensure time for research of at least 1 hour per day
  • Allocate 2 hours every day for prospecting calls (either F2F or on the phone)
  • Book a minimum of 10 new business meetings every week

Suddenly, you’ll be busy selling! By adding 2-5 selling hours each week that could easily change the dynamics of your revenue delivery, your performance metrics and your income.

It could be the perfect new year’s resolution.

Until next week good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]