How Salespeople Should Organize Their Time

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How should salespeople organize their time? This is a question that is asked by many sales reps and their managers.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard a sales rep say, 'I would love to sell more but I just don't have the time to prospect.'  Or how often someone says, 'I would love to be healthier but I don't have the time to work out.'

Please! When we say we don't have the time to do something, what we are really saying is that we chose not to do it. We all have the same number of hours in a day. The only difference is how we spend them.  If top producing sales people can find the time to prospect, so can you!

Let's face it. To survive in sales, finding the time to prospect is not optional. You simply must commit the resources you need to achieve your goals. You have to learn how to avoid procrastination. For most of us who earn a living by selling, that means scheduling our time properly so that we focus on what is truly important.

So how should salespeople organize their time? It’s easy when you follow 6 simple steps.

Time Management Tips for Sales Reps – 6 Steps to Get More Out of Your Sales Week

Sales Tips from B2B Sales Connections - Photo by on Unsplash

The key to your schedule is to concentrate on the upcoming week, not the week past. You want to focus on what is to be done, not what has already happened and cannot be changed. Your objective is to arrive at the office Monday morning with your week already booked with sales calls, not scrambling to fill up your day.

In other words, you want to work this week to book next week!

The Organized Sales Rep – Step 1

Use a calendar which shows a whole week on one page. Seeing the whole week at a glance is critical. If your Smart Phone can't show this, you can download our Weekly Calendar Template that I refer to in this post for free from the B2B Sales Connections Free Download Centre.

Personally, I use Google Calendar. It's also free, I can access it from all my devices, and it allows me to colour code my business, personal and charity work appointments, as well as share them online with those that need to know my schedule.

The Organized Sales Rep – Step 2

Now that you have selected your time tracking device that shows one week at a time, go to next week's schedule and enter your booked appointments, including meetings with customers, sales meetings and personal appointments. When doing this, also write in the geographic location of each appointment using the zip or postal code. That way, when you schedule new appointments, you can schedule them near each other, reducing travel time. Time spent in the car is not productive, so why not minimize it.  This also has the added benefit of saving on gas too!

The Organized Sales Rep – Step 3

Book in time for office duties next. This should be in non-peak selling hours like either first thing in the morning or after 4 in the afternoon. Preparing quotes, answering emails, and completing sales paperwork should be completed in this scheduled time, but only in this scheduled time and not during peak selling hours. Just because technology allows us to answer emails on a moment's notice, doesn't mean we should.

You should also schedule personal development time where you can increase your product knowledge and improve your sales skills.  Remember, as John Wooden once said, 'It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.'

The Organized Sales Rep – Step 4

Lastly, book at least one hour per day for prospecting, preferably at the same time each day so you can develop a routine. It doesn't matter how you prospect, telephone, email, LinkedIn, or a combination, the important thing is to make time to do it.

Remember, think of your prospecting time as a scheduled appointment just like a meeting with a prospect. You wouldn't cancel on a customer, so don't cancel on yourself and your future sales success.

How much time you schedule to prospect depends on your numbers. What is one customer or one sale worth to you and what are the marketing activities required to generate one? How many sales do you need to meet your objectives? Does it take 10 prospecting contacts to make a sale or does it take fifty? It doesn't matter what the numbers are, as long as you know YOUR numbers! Once you know this information, you can schedule enough prospecting time each day to reach them.

To help you calculate your numbers, step by step, check out our webinar video, How to Define Sales Success On Your Own Terms and Then Achieve It!  You can also track your progress by downloading our Goal Setting and Action Planning Worksheet from the B2B Sales Connections Free Download Centre.

The Organized Sales Rep – Step 5

Remember that workout routine you never seem to have time for? Schedule it! As well as any other personal appointments you have for next week.  Soccer games, piano recitals, a round of golf, whatever it is, schedule it.  Remember, we work to live, not live to work.  As a cancer survivor myself, I cannot stress enough the importance of making time for yourself and your family.

The Organized Sales Rep – Step 6

Now as your week progresses, fill the gaps in your schedule with other sales activities in the same geographic locations as your appointments.

You could spend some time and do first contact visit the business neighbours around the companies you have appointments with.  When you think about it, that equates to 5 calls every time you park the car!

You could also some customer visits in the area to show your superior customer service skills.  These visits are also excellent opportunities to ask for referrals, or what many sales know to be the most effective lead source available. If you are not taking advantage of the use of referrals, or you haven't been trained on when and how to properly ask for them, my video, How Should Sales People Ask For Referrals will show you exactly how.

Essentially you are prospecting this week to book appointments next week and the entire time management process begins again

How Sales Reps Should Plan Their Week

Below is an example of what a successful sales person's weekly calendar for next week could look like using all the planning steps and time management tips I’ve discussed. 

Note I said next week's calendar.  After all, as Harvey Mackay once said, 'Failure don't plan to fail; they fail to plan.'

You can also download the detailed instructions for this sales rep time management system for free from the B2B Sales Connections Free Download Centre.

How Sales Reps Should Organize Their Time (With Template and Example)

    How sales reps should organize their time. - Time Management Tips from B2B Sales Connections

    How Salespeople Should Organize Their Time with a “Reoccurring To Do List”

    You may have noticed the “To Do List” at the bottom of the calendar. To get the most out of your sales day, create a 'Recurring To Do List', with separate categories labeled Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Ongoing. Place all of your regular to-dos in the appropriate category.

    For example, if you need to complete 10 new sales contacts each day to reach your sales quota, list it in the Daily category. If you want to connect with one new social network contact each week, put it on the Weekly category. I use the Reminder feature in Google Calendar mentioned earlier as it automates this whole process.

    As you check things off your lists, not only will you gain an incredible sense of accomplishment, but you will be well on your way to achieving your goals and objectives!

    The Bottom Line on How Salespeople Should Organize Their Time

    A calendar like this is included in our Weekly Sales Activity Tracking Tool. When used properly, it really show and teaches how salespeople should organize their time.

    The workbook also includes activity tracking worksheets you can use to ensure how you organize you week keeps you on track towards your yearly objectives.  It's the same sales management tool I use to coach sales managers in my book, Action Plan for Sales Management Success as part of a complete sales rep time management system.

    With some proper planning and time management techniques, you can fit more into your sales day. It will also free up some personal time as well.

    If you are a sales person who works from a home office, be sure to check out, How Salespeople Can Stay Productive Working From a Home Office for more valuable time management tips to help you get more out of your sales day.

    Remember, plan your work and then work your plan. As the Sales Wizard Brian Jeffrey once said, 'We can’t manage time, but we can manage ourselves.  So time management is self management.'

    Aim Higher!

    Susan A. EnnsB2B Sales Coach and Author
    Schedule a free sales coaching strategy session with Susan here.

    “… what I can tell anyone, is simply this – If you want to learn and understand sales, talk to Susan.”

    Do you have a question about sales? You’re not alone.  Most salespeople have questions like this on how they can sell more. For the right answers, check out my book, Ask the Sales Coach-Practical Answers to the Questions Sales People Ask Most.

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