If one of your goals this year is to optimize your sales strengths, think about your work habits. In the sales profession, we spend a lot of energy on improving our sales strengths. We plan to improve our discovery process, and we want to perfect our negotiating skills. None of that can happen without a solid plan.
Sales Strengths and Time Management
The experts love to expound on obvious sales strengths such as possessing a high confidence level and great active listening skills. But another sales strength centers around time management, and Laura Vanderkam takes aim at the topic in her IDEAS.TED.com post. In many professions, Friday has become "Friyay," a day given to anticipation of the upcoming weekend. In fact, some businesses are experimenting with shifting the standard work schedule to four full days and giving employees Fridays off.
Most U.S. companies haven’t adopted that work schedule. Instead of relaxing on Fridays, Vanderkam suggests that you use the day to organize your upcoming week. By taking time to check your calendar, you can mentally prepare for the usual Monday issues. Is your boss expecting you to make a presentation during the sales meeting? Why not use a couple of quiet hours on Friday to polish and practice that presentation? You’ll go into Monday feeling confident.
Finish What You Start
Fridays can also be the perfect time to complete the projects you haven’t managed to get to. Like all reps, you have a lot on your plate. The big account you sold last year may be demanding a special report that you promised. Meanwhile, the prospect you’ve been nurturing for months is stalled in the pipeline. And, of course, your manager wants to know exactly what you’ve done with the 10 leads they gave you last month. You may have started one or all of these projects and they are now awaiting completion.
You may be asking which of your sales strengths can help in this situation. The answer is: organization. When you organize your to-do list, you should first prioritize which tasks are most important.
“In life, all success comes from completing tasks. It’s not from working at tasks, it’s from completing tasks. It is only when you complete tasks that you become successful.”
– Brian Tracy
Following Tracy’s advice, note that he’s also been a guest on the Manage Smarter show, once you prioritize your tasks, set specific goals around completion. Some tasks may require two solid hours of your time. Block that space on your calendar and promise yourself you won’t wander into the break room halfway through the project to chat with a colleague.
When working on a big project, roadblocks will come your way. You might be struggling with how to design a slide for a presentation. If you need to take a break to allow your mind to reset, set a strict time limit. Ten minutes is all you need to review your Instagram feed and comment on your friends’ posts.
Don’t let yourself finish for the day until you complete the projects on your list. Taking up this habit will improve your sense of satisfaction and your efficiency. And delivering a new analysis to your customer on time will also improve your credibility.
Changing Your Work Routine
We all become creatures of habit in our personal and professional lives. Our minds and bodies find comfort in routines because repeating actions saves resources. You may have heard that you should change up your workout routine at the gym – otherwise your body will find ways to cut the calorie burn. When we go on autopilot at work, repeating activities without thinking about them, we miss the opportunity to improve ourselves.
If you haven’t experimented with adjusting your workflow to determine your peak energy times, why not try it this year? In doing so, you may find that one of your sales strengths is making presentations before noon instead of at 4 p.m.
We'd all like to complete our work more efficiently and to enjoy better outcomes. Experiment with adjusting your work habits and see what you can accomplish!
Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplashed.