Business Articles - On the Job

Nine ways to Maximize Pay Time and Minimize No Pay Time

"Time is really the only capitol that any human being has, and the only thing he can't afford to lose". - Thomas Edison

The more of your day that you fill with activities that make money, the more successful you will be. Think about what you do each day. How much of your effort generates income ("pay time") and how much of it only supports the generation of income ("no pay time")? Here's how to keep these two in perspective.

1. Watch what you do.

Pay-time activities include finding customers, getting appointments, making sales calls, making referral calls, and servicing your customers. Pay time typically occurs between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Most no-pay-time activities are best scheduled for before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. These activities include writing proposals, organizing your contact management database, writing letters or email or buyers and clients, doing research on more buyers on the Internet, checking out the competition's Web pages, designing a specialized mailing to a specific database, planning workflow, and so on. Keep a journal of the percentage of your day you spend in each type of activity. Unless pay time is consistently 90% or more of your effort, you might need to re-organize your day.

2. Stay on goal time, not clock time.

Your purpose is to accomplish goals, whether that takes one hour or eight hours. Start your day by saying, "This is what I will accomplish today." (For example, set up five appointments with new buyers.) When you've accomplished that goal, stop working for the day. Go home to your spouse and children, play golf, or do whatever else you choose to do as a reward for success.

3. Keep a "cookbook" and manage it hard.

Plan the precise ingredients that must go into your day. Map out the specific behavior you need to reach you daily goals and plot your progress throughout the day. Most contact- management systems allow for tracking and tallying daily performance.

4. Focus on the moment.

Stay 100% mentally focused on what you're doing. Don't keep one foot in today's cookbook and the other foot is some opportunity for another day. The resulting "metal pollution' will cloud your focus.

5. Maintain a healthy self-esteem.

Your emotional well-being is a key to remaining in pay time. You need to know how to handle the rejection embedded in the no's you collect throughout the day, every day. Keep your mind off yourself and on your revenue-generating goals.

6. Activate a support group.

You can face the business of selling alone, or you can share your lessons with others in the safe environment of a support group of your peers. Learn what others are doing to manage their days and keep no pay time to a minimum.

7. Keep a journal.

It's not enough merely to track you daily behavior in your cookbook or contact management system. You also need to keep a personal journal to record your lessons learned, your shortcuts, your attitude assessment, and your interpersonal behavior. Learn how these factors contribute to your pay time/no pay time split. Get ideas for change.

8. Establish a prospecting system.

Create a process that forces you to systematically perform the grunt work that's a part of sales. Make sure it covers generating referrals and introductions as well as working leads generated through advertising, add-on sales, direct mail, broadcast fax, association selling, or directory cold calling. Use the system to maximize your pay time.

9. Establish a selling system.

If you don't have a plan of your own, you'll become part of someone else's. If you don't have a system of selling, you'll be prisoner to the buyer's system - one designed to keep you permanently in no pay time as you cough up your expertise for free. Remember the importance of generating a system that keeps you in pay time and in charge of your sales success.

The information above came from Dave Mattson, the vice president of Sandler Selling Systems, a company that provides excellent sales training to professional salespeople.

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