Being a remote salesperson can be tricky (during a pandemic, no less!) You want to get to know your prospects and be sensitive to their needs, but also don't want to take up too much of their time.
Sales time wasters could be the kink in your selling process.
Below are 4 sales time wasters that we often hear about from colleagues of CFS. In dissecting why people experience them, you may be able to set better time management expectations moving forward.
4 Sales Time Wasters:
1. Inability to say “no”
The inability to say “no” is when you are unable or feel powerless to refuse any request. It might be that you want to keep an ‘open door policy' where you give unlimited and unmonitored access to anyone who wishes to contact you. But in turn, you end up prioritizing other people's requests over your own work. Here are some other explanations.
- You have many interests and want to be involved. You want to be seen as supportive and available.
- You confuse or fail to set priorities.
- Do not want to hurt others' feelings, or find yourself over-promising by saying “yes” to too many things. You have trouble setting a boundary.
- Do not want to refuse a superior's request.
- Do not feel comfortable giving “real” reason and don't want to lie.
- You find yourself using the interruptions as a way of procrastinating or justifying missed deadlines.
- Evaluate how much time is available, and be realistic. If you lie to yourself, you'll be lying to others.
- Understand limitations and what can be done well by setting daily and long-term priorities. People can appreciate a pragmatic perspective.
- Learn to say “no” to people and tasks that do not support daily and long-term priorities. But feel free to set aside time to meet virtually with coworkers. People like a reliable meeting schedule.
- Take a break from screens when you can. It can feel like we are on our devices all day. A break can help you recharge for the times when you need to be present.
Being honest with yourself and communicative with others will help your sales process. But remember – being productive is different from keeping busy. Colleagues will trust you if you say what you mean and if you are reliable. Plus, it may even help you stand out as a salesperson!
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2. Cluttered work space
Working from home has created a lot of challenges. A cluttered work space used to refer to a messy office, and now it could mean your makeshift work area in your living room or bedroom.
- You see organizing and filing activities as a waste of time, or have not tried making a system to group information and materials.
- You want everything in front of you, at your fingertips.
- You feel too tired or burnt out to bother putting effort into your space.
- Set up (or have someone else set up) a functional work area. Maybe purchase a small paper sorter or lap trays so you can maximize the space in your home.
- Spend a few minutes before and after work cleaning up your space.
- Establish a time limit for certain projects and then only have the current project material out in front of you.
If you can get creative in optimizing your space, you will feel better. Less mess, less stress.
3. Poor filing system
In transitioning to remote work, lots of businesses had to reevaluate how they store information. A poor filing system is one that has no predetermined method for subject matter grouping, one that you may understand but is not usable by others who need to retrieve information from your files.
- You have not determined or prioritized subject matter groupings.
- You categorize things using arbitrary ideas that seem random to others.
- You are overwhelmed at the thought of organizing (or even digitizing) such large amounts of data.
- Work with others to set up a cataloguing system so everyone is on the same page. Use cross-referencing indexes.
- Utilize tools that can help you keep organized and on schedule.
Procrastination is the process of delaying action, or the inability to begin action. It is the most common time management problem.
- Your priorities have not been set, or you do not not see projects or tasks clearly.
- You feel overwhelmed with commitments.
- You have a fear of failure, or hope that time will solve or eliminate the problem.
- Set goals and then check in with others so you are held accountable.
- Break large projects into small steps and work bit by bit.
- Remind yourself of the consequences if something doesn't get done, and offer yourself a small reward when something does get done. You can avoid the stress of putting something off until the last minute and feel good about yourself for accomplishing your goals (no matter how small).
Time management takes practice. Don't be discouraged if you aren't where you want to be on your first try. Start where you are.
What are other sales time wasters and solutions you've experienced? Let us know in the comments!