Time is money.
You’ve probably heard or even said this phrase, which may or may not have first been used by Thomas Edison in an essay in 1748, hundreds of times. Just three simple words, very easy to understand the meaning. Especially when you do what we do.
I remember first being told we should always look to sell early in the day and early in the week. The best time to make a sale, the theory held, was in the morning, on Monday, when the client was refreshed from the weekend and the week’s problems were only just beginning. The later in the week, the more stressed the client is and therefore, less likely to be able to focus on meeting with you, talking about their business and, ultimately, buying something.
Since then, I’ve also worked for and with others who believe almost the exact opposite. They believe that as the pain from the week reaches its boiling point, that light at the end of the tunnel, that is the weekend, puts people in the best possible mood, so later in the day on a Friday is actually best.
If you read my stuff, you may be able to guess what my thoughts are – great ideas sell and will sell on Monday, on Wednesday, in the morning or at night. If you feel one of the above theories is on the mark, go with it. I’m never one to have dictates or one way of doing things, to me it’s about what works best for you to hit and exceed your revenue budget. What is important, however, is having a plan for all of your time.
An old boss would ask me, “what’s your time plan?” and it really took me awhile to figure out what they meant. My first thought was, “who has time to put together a plan about time?!” As time went on, I became much more aware of how I was spending my time and making sure that I didn’t end one day without a plan for the next. I truly believe that if you start thinking about what you’re going to do for that day, the morning of that day, you’re already way behind.
There’s no perfect time plan. We’ve all probably worked for or with sales managers who had the “don’t be in this office during the day, go out in the morning and don’t come back until the day is over,” plan, which probably accounts for 75% of all revenues at area Starbucks and Panera’s. I worked with a manager once who had a “sign out board.” You were either in the office on the phone, or you marked on the board where you were and what time you expected to be back.
In training sessions, my theory on time management for sellers is fairly simple: between 10 AM and 3 PM be selling or setting appointments. Other than lunch, which should include a client or prospect at least a couple times per week, do nothing else during those hours. Do not write copy, do not put in an order, do not do a proposal, do not fill out the paperwork for your one on one, if you can possibly avoid it, do not do anything except sell or set appointments during those hours. There’s time before ten and after three to take care of all those things.
If you mentally program yourself that the time you have to accomplish a lot of tasks is only the morning and late afternoon when selling time ends, then you’re more likely to not let distractions take you off your plan and you’ll get things done much quicker. If you’re spending your days either planning your day or trying to figure out who to call, you’re dead in the water.
Time is so valuable to us in sales. It’s crucial that you have a time plan and you stick to it. Time is money isn’t just a saying in media sales, it’s reality.