A typical syndrome with accidental sales people is ‘feast and famine’. You have a dearth of paid work and so you devote your attention to finding new business. Eventually your activity pays off and the opportunities start to show up. You then start delivering and getting stuck into doing what you do best. Meanwhile lead generation activity gradually slows down like an electric fan turned off at the mains. You are too busy enjoying your feast to worry about that lead generation stuff – the feast is going to last forever right? Before you know it, you can see a potential famine looming on the horizon. If only you had more time……..
In one of the free tele-seminars for the Accidental Salesman® Club last week, I interviewed personal productivity expert Richard Maybury of Priority Management. Richard gave us some excellent advice on how to be more productive and create extra time for sales.
Richard gave a whole wealth of tips and advice which will be available shortly be available as premium content. In the mean time, here are some key pointers:
Be clear of your priorities, not just in business but also in life. If you approach your days with a clear purpose then it becomes easier to prioritise tasks.
Dump any tasks that are unimportant. You need to be ruthless here. If you find yourself thinking that you will do a certain task ‘when things quieten down a little’ then it could be an excellent candidate for dumping.
Delegate any low value tasks that are non-core or would take up too much time to master. For business owners this could mean using the services of a bookkeeper or a virtual PA, and getting expert advice on specific areas. It could even mean finding trusted associates to help you deliver some of the work in feast times.
Richard says to avoid delaying tasks unless you are prepared to allocate a specific time for doing them. Put them in your diary as if it were an important meeting and then commit to that time. If it is not important enough then it is a prime candidate for dumping or deleting.
Anything left will be a high priority task and these are the ones to do now.
Richard called Do, Dump, Delegate, and Delay the 4-D process and it is a corner stone of the Priority Management system.
Break projects and tasks down into smaller chunks and do, delay or delegate as detailed above. Use the 80/20 rule and focus on the 20% of activities that will get 80% of the results.
It can be difficult balancing delivery work with sales but both are high priority tasks and you ignore one at your peril. Again, if you break the tasks down there could be elements that could be delegated.
The problem with delegation is that it often takes money. The mistake business owner make is that fail to invest in delegation during the feast period and they can never afford it during a famine. Yet if they did delegate more then they might have fewer famine periods to contend with.
Richard covered lots of detail including the use of technology like outlook to support you.
Richard has an excellent free report on improving productivity and also a regular productivity tips email. You can subscribe by emailing him at RichardM @ prioritymanagement.com and putting ‘Accidental Salesman’ in the email subject line.