Time is money. Whoever said it knew what they were talking about.
And if time is money, why are some so reckless with it?
Like most things, as we age, we appreciate it more; the time we spend with loved ones, doing what we love or moving towards a lifelong goal.
In business and career, time is critical as a variable as it pertains to reaching our potential, whether we are an entry-level account representative or a senior executive. And, as the Rolling Stones adequately express, the trick is getting it on our side.
So – what’s in it for you?
The term “efficiency” is one that – for many – is an annoyance, because it is not properly explained or executed in the corporate world. Often, inadequately designed processes or poorly detailed or determined goals lead to those under the curve being treated like second-class citizens when, in reality, there are many rhymes and reasons to the variances.
As a sales rep – for instance – efficiency is important because we must create a captive audience in our potential client, ascertain their needs and areas of opportunity, diagnose and make a presentation within a relatively short window. We are battling Father Time all the time – be it in their short attention span, their busy day and the fact we have to juggle as many potential appointments as possible.
The primary issues in maintaining efficiency from a rep perspective and managing it from a leadership perspective are prioritization; what is most important? Is it number of calls made or taken? No. Is it the amount of time spent talking? No, not really.
The most important facet of time efficiency is the time available to do the facets of your job: presenting, talking, calling – whatever may have you. Whatever else must be squeezed into your day – appointment setting, preparation, follow-up, callbacks, etc. – these take away from the true jewel of the efficiency and time game: selling.
Revenue is the only number that is absolute; no number trumps it. They complement it, they lead to that holy grail of sales, yet they are stepping stones. A rep should care about efficiency and optimization of their time because you cannot strike oil if you are not employing the best, most efficient methods necessary. It is about hitting the widest scope of territory in a timely fashion. That’s sales.
So – what’s in it for the sales rep? More money and keeping the poor managers off your back. I truly give the salesperson the benefit of the doubt to do it their way, until their way proves to not work. Then, it’s time for productive change. Efficiency is yet another part of the puzzle; but it is not about quantity. It’s about quality.
I pride myself in being able to diagnose any sales rep by studying the sum of their statistics. If my top rep can close 1 in 10 calls and they make 50 a day, that’s great. If my bottom rep can close 1 in 200 calls and they make 50 calls a day, there’s a serious problem. So, number of calls is meaningless.
On the same token, then it is time to look at why that bottom rep is only closing 1 in 200. The answer is not going to lie in efficiency, so beating them over the head about it is not the answer. That’s like diagnosing a car without looking under the hood. Their process is out of whack. Fix it first, then gauge the efficiency.
The segue has been made perfectly into managing efficiency; what is in it for a manager?
A manager has to account for the behavior patterns of multiple people, which can often be a challenge. Leading a team is finding the perfect balance between managing people and process. Prioritization of what you will emphasize, with whom and for how long you will invest your time in them, and finding things that will have the biggest impact on all futuristic actions your team members take is how you win as a manager.
To build and maintain a fine-tuned team machine, it is all about checks and balances; finding efficiency’s part in all of it is two-fold. Not only do you have to study the metrics and figure out who is being naughty and nice, you also have to ensure your own time is well-spent. Those who stop the presses every time a fire pops up will be engulfed in flames of inadequacy. Those who properly schedule their day, stick to the plan and leave themselves time to take care of the unexpected will prosper.
As for the managers who can properly put efficiency in perspective for themselves and others, they will have a leg up on one of the biggest components affecting the almighty revenue number.
And, they will be able to say time is on their side. Yes it is.
Carson V. Heady has written a sales book unlike any other, entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. It is a how-to sell/career advice book inside a novel about the fictional author who practices what he preaches.
If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.carsonvheady.com/
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