Only last week I was speaking with a Sales Director and I was asking how things were going? To which he replied, “I am far too busy at the moment to even think about selling and I should be able to get back to it in a few weeks”.
This made me start to reflect and for some reason I thought about the walks I like to take:
On a beautiful December day, sunny, windless spring morning, I went for a walk in the bush near my house, looking forward to the scenery. Right? The Aussie bush! Being from Ireland I did not and still don’t think about how many things can annoy me on a simple walk. Not 20 yards in, I met… Flying ants. Horse flies. Green-headed flies. Gnats of all varieties and a family of Magpies. They trailed just behind and a little above me, diving, flying into my ears, buzzing my eyes, hovering under my nose for brief moments, biting the back of my neck. “And the Magpie nearly scared the life out of me!!!!”
I raised a defence.
Waving my arms and hands around my head as I walked and ran, I whacked a few buzzy buggers this way and that, squashed a few on my head, and sniffed one up my nose.
The defence worked….for the most part….but I was so distracted, I didn’t get to look at the scenery much. I lost the main point of the walk!
Which can happen when we’re selling, right?
We get distracted; we lose track of the main point. Sometimes, we distract ourselves, pursuing customers that don’t quite fit, needs that are too small, or accounts that soak up lots of time. Sometimes, we get distracted by our managers, or internal politics, or the relentless buzzing and diving of our company product managers each of whom thinks his or her products should be our first consideration. Bzzzzzzzz.
For the bush, the solution is easy: a hat, some bug spray, and a flyswatter.
In the office, not as easy. While insect repellent and a flyswatter can be helpful in meetings, other strategies might be required.
We like: business plans, reviewed monthly.
Three to five weekly top priorities, the weekly “A” list. Three to five daily priorities, the daily “A” list. And blocks of time dedicated to one thing, no multitasking, so we can focus on the most important clients and most important issues through which we earn the BIG bucks.
Avoid These Distractions in Sales
Many people fall into the habit of checking emails literally dozens of times each day. While we want to be responsive and timely when answering, most emails don’t need to be answered within minutes of receiving them.
It’s much more efficient to set up 2 or 3 times each day when you check and respond to emails. Checking and responding to emails each time one arrives in the inbox is a major waste of time. When it’s not time to check your email, keep the program closed so you’re not tempted each time a new email comes in.
Handling Follow up Work
After almost every sales call or meeting there is follow up work to get done. There are proposals to go over, records to update, and the next steps in the process to get prepared. These tasks are necessary and must get done in a timely manner. It is easy to get distracted and waste time in the same way as when emails are answered as they come.
Again, time should be set aside each day for follow up duties. Updating several records at once takes less time than doing it individually several times each day.
Most people already know that social media can be a bottomless pit if we let ourselves get distracted. It’s okay to occasionally take a break and check twitter or the latest headlines.
It’s important to keep screens to social media closed during work periods. Reward yourself with 5 minute breaks throughout the day to relax and enjoy what’s on social media. It’s also a good idea to keep your phone silent and only check it periodically. With texts, calendar reminders, and app notifications your phone is likely to be buzzing almost constantly throughout the day.
My “FAVOURITE” Office Gossip
As much as most of us would like to believe we don’t get caught up in this sort of thing, it can be a major distraction if you’re not careful. Sometimes there’s a fine line between networking and sharing information, and complaining about how awful a particular client or co-worker can be. While you don’t want to be totally unavailable to co-workers, there are simple steps to take when you really need to stay focused and get work done.
If you’re in an office, closing the door for specific times throughout the day can send the message that unless it’s an emergency you shouldn’t be interrupted at that time. If you’re in a cubicle or other open area wearing headphones is a great way to keep from being distracted. People are less likely to interrupt someone wearing headphones. OR more drastic that I have seen in the past is to put up a sign saying- “MAKING SALES, GO AWAY UNLESS URGENT”……….