One of my first clients was a company selling a subscription based magazine on a door-to-door basis. It was a referral and the sales director wanted to know what the few key things the top sales people were doing differently to the average performers that led them to producing significantly more results.

Several key differences emerged and the one that has provided significant insights for my other clients is the comparison in the way in which these people viewed their time. It proved very useful for me as most of my clients will have a sales cycle of one to three months. The sales cycle here was 5 minutes maximum! It really highlighted the enormous differences that can be made by good prioritisation of time.

The highest producing sales people did not have the best sales presentation or technique. They were a lot more friendly, very focused and very careful about how they spent their time. As part of my research I followed around both the top and average sales people looking for differences.

I can remember one day going out with both an average performer and a top performer at the same time. I was on one side of the street with the average sales person whilst the top sales person worked the other side of the street. In the same time that we had knocked on three doors and not got any sales, the top performer had done the whole street and won one sale!

It was amazing to watch him speed up the road. When I asked him how he managed to get through so many houses he said ‘I do not bother trying to sell to people who do not want me there’. He would spot the facial reactions of the people opening the door and if they were friendly he would proceed and if they were not then he would give his apologies and quickly move on.

The average sales person would waste time going through their sales presentation and ‘having a go’. They would also wait longer for someone to answer the door. The top sales people would wait for a minute maximum, often less. The average sales person would wait for a couple of minutes. Over the course of a day all these minutes added up.

If you apply this to your sales process you will see that it is so easy to lose minutes and hours, sometimes even days trying to sell to people that would never make good customers and deep down you know that you are probably just wasting your time. Whilst the macho sales person would tell you to have a go and try all sorts of tricks to get a bad prospect to still buy from you, a better way is reclaim that time and spend it on finding better prospects.