What?

  • Selling takes time. If we spend too small a proportion of our limited time actually selling, we will fail to achieve our sales targets.
  • Selling activities include; prospecting, approaching brand new customers, coaching these customers to identify and articulate their needs, co-creating proposals and account plans, securing purchase orders and keeping our CRM system accurate and up to date.
  • Non-selling activities can include; resolving existing customer issues, attending colleagues’ meetings, resolving IT issues, etc.

Why?

  • People in sales roles are typically helpful and considerate.
  • When we come across situations where we can help customers and colleagues, our natural response is often to pitch in and do what we can.
  • However, delivering customer service and the fulfilment of customers’ orders must normally be left to colleagues.
  • We should only permit ourselves time to help colleagues when we are confident about achieving our sales targets.

How?

  • Get some evidence – It can often be useful to make a record of where we spend our time for a typical week. People in sales roles are often surprised to learn how little of their time they spend actually selling.
  • Stop helping customers! We might spend a lot of our time helping customers. Although it feels good to be helpful, and it feels a lot like selling, it may be better to refer the customer to our colleagues in customer support roles. Their job is to help customers, our job is to win sales. (It can be very hard to step away from helping customers, especially when we’ve worked so hard to build relationships and win their business.)
  • Proposals and Account Plans – Having the ability and permission to step away from helping customers is one key reason why our proposal documents and account plans are so important. We take care to ensure that customers know that their continuing day to day support will come from our colleagues, not us.
  • Make time decisions continually – Throughout every working day, continually ask yourself this key question:

What is the best use of my selling time right now?