Six Sales Time Wasters

June 21, 2010
Six Sales Time Wasters

Sales time wasters can be the kink in your selling process.  Read on to learn the most common sales time wasters and why you may be experiencing them.

One of the services that CFS provides to salespeople is a series of online assessments. Among my favorites is the TTI Success Insights® Time P.L.U.S.™ – which helps reveal the possible cause of ineffective time use and provide solutions to an effective plan for maximizing the use of time and increasing performance. Click here to see a sample.

I liked the section on “Time Wasters” so much that I decided to copy and edit them here for you to quickly review so that you can set better time management expectations.

Sales Time Wasters:

1. Inability to say “no.”
The inability to say no is when you are unable to or feel powerless to refuse any request.

Possible causes:

  • Have many interests and want to be involved
  • Confuse priorities
  • Fail to set priorities
  • Do not want to hurt others' feelings
  • Do not want to refuse a superior's request
  • Do not feel comfortable giving “real” reason and doesn't want to lie,/li>

Possible solutions:

  • Realistically evaluate how much time is available
  • Understand limitations and what can be done well
  • Set daily and long-term priorities
  • Learn to say “no” to those people and tasks that do not support daily and long-term priorities

2. Open door policy
An open door policy in this context refers to giving unlimited and unmonitored access to anyone who wishes to see you.

Possible causes:

  • Want to be seen as supportive and available
  • Want the social interaction of people dropping by
  • Have a difficult time saying “no”
  • Use people interruptions as a way of procrastinating or justifying missed deadlines

Possible solutions:

  • Set aside time to “close your door” and work on projects
  • Set aside time to interact with co-workers
  • Learn to prioritize activities and say “no” to low priorities

3. Long lunches
Long lunches are those that extend beyond the normal time for eating. They could be kept within a specific time frame but are not.

Possible causes:

  • Get involved in the excitement of conversation and forget about time
  • See long lunches as a networking opportunity
  • Like doing business in a social, non-threatening environment
  • Use long lunches as a way to avoid unpleasant tasks, people or the work environment

Possible solutions:

  • Set a specific time for lunch and stick to it
  • Have meetings in the office
  • Set meetings right after lunch
  • Have working lunches

4. Cluttered desk
A cluttered desk is one that is overloaded by papers, supplies and equipment to the point of impacting the ability to be productive.

Possible causes:

  • See organizing and filing activities as a waste of time
  • Want everything at fingertips
  • Do not conceptualize a system for grouping information and materials
  • Have not established a timeline for tasks or projects

Possible solutions:

  • Handle each piece of mail only once, i.e. pitch it, file it or delegate it
  • Set up (or have someone else set up) an information storage and retrieval system
  • Get off mailing lists that are of no interest to you
  • Remind yourself that the time it takes to open “junk” mail robs you of time for more Important tasks
  • Establish a time limit for certain projects and only have current project material on your desk

5. Poor filing system
A poor filing system is one that has no predetermined method for subject matter grouping. It is one that you may understand but is not usable by others who may need to retrieve information from your files.

Possible causes:

  • Have not determined or prioritized subject matter groupings
  • Categorize by emotions

Possible solutions:

  • Set up a cataloging system that you and others can use easily
  • Have someone assist you in setting up a system
  • Use cross-referencing indexes
  • Computerize information

6. Procrastination
Procrastination is the process of delaying action. It is also the inability to begin action.

Possible causes:

  • Priorities have not been set
  • Do not see projects or tasks clearly
  • Overwhelmed with commitments
  • Hope that time will solve or eliminate the problem
  • Fear of failure

Possible solutions:

  • Set goals and establish priorities
  • Break large projects into small steps and do one at a time
  • Agree to follow established priorities
  • Consider consequences if it doesn't get done
  • Remind yourself that you will avoid the stress of putting something off until the last minute

Do you feel like you have another explanation for sales time wasters? Let us know in the comments!

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