Here are 10 techniques that will eliminate time wasting calls:
1. Prime selling time. Sixty-four percent of successful closing sales calls are made before noon. Prime selling time is usually defined as 9 a.m. to 3-4 p.m. depending on the market and average time between appointments. Flip-flop the call mix. Make the closing presentations in the morning and the new calls in the afternoon. This method will increase the closing ratio as prospects like to close early and fight fire later.
2. Salespeople love to set up appointments with prospects. Many times the potential clients are not qualified. Walk their showroom (if possible) and research the company's website. Try to determine whether the prospect is serious about doing business before meeting them. Surveys of major selling organizations have determined that each outside sales call costs an average of $144.53. If two of your calls are made on unqualified prospects, those calls add up to almost $300.00 that has been wasted.
3. 20 minute increments. Busy executives look at their time in 20 minute increments not by the hour. Set up your appointments on the 10, 20, 40 and 50 minute periods of the hour. It is another technique to appear busy even if it is not the case.
4. Drive time. If a rep has an average commute of 30 minutes per day, that time adds up to 120 hours of commuting per year. Those hours do not include driving to sales calls. This is quality time that should be used for training with such things as CD's and podcasts. Poor territory management of sales calls is also another large time waster.
5. Meetings: Monitor how much time is actually spent in front of the prospects during a meeting. In certain cases, an hour has been scheduled, but the call could be wrapped up in half of that time. That is not to say that an hour in front of a prospect is not time well spent. Make sure to maximize the time though.
6. Time suckers: I never had one of my co-workers buy advertising from me. If they want to chitchat over coffee, make sure they do it on their time not yours.
7. Post: Even in the "digital world", there is still a good reason to prospect with the U.S. Postal Service. It is such a surprise anymore when someone receives something by snail-mail. A hand written letter can be used to state a specific reason for a meeting or let a prospect know that you had visited their business recently. Using the mail service is not the norm which makes helps the rep rise above the clutter of email.
8. CMS: Contact Management Systems and smart phone calendars can streamline appointments, to-do lists, schedule meetings, eliminate paper shuffling, and help make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Sometimes just the proper use of a planning calendar will do the job. Believe it or not, the norm which sales people is not necessarily a good time management system. Get one!
9. Service: Nothing beats the warmth of seeing the prospects in person. Far too often, we discount that a client does not need to see us in person. While you put off that personal visit to the client because of the relationship, the competition has teed them up and developed a better relationship. Don't let that happen.
10. Supplies/Propaganda: Carry all the necessary tools which include a good computer to feature ads, media kits, credit applications, testimonials, etc. in order to conduct business in a professional manner. Otherwise, time is being wasted driving back to the office. If you make $75,000.00 per year, every hour is worth $38.42. Make every minute of every hour count.. starting now!
Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.