Sell in tough timesArticle added by Maura Schreier-Fleming on April 27, 2012
mschreier

Maura Schreier-Fleming

DALLAS, TX

Joined: March 22, 2005

If you read the newspapers, you've probably read the dire predictions. I promise you that despite all of the bad news, there will be some salespeople who will have a successful year.

You can be one of them. Use time wisely. How many times do you need to retrieve a file, get a work tool or complete a task, only to find yourself spending time looking for it?

You may think you are organized, and you really are not. Here's how you can tell.

Over the next few days, count the number of times you need to retrieve an item, whether it is information or tangible, and you retrieve what you are looking for on the very first attempt. If you think you're organized, you go right to what you need. If you're not, it's often the second or third place you look that you find what you are looking for.

I see people spending too much time looking for what they need because they are disorganized. Searching takes away from the time you could be working on productive selling tasks. The secret to getting more done is to waste less time.

What do I suggest? Be honest. Do you need to clean out your files? Do you need to use technology so you can quickly retrieve electronic information? Do you need to move the things you use regularly closer to you?

Now schedule time on your calendar and organize. Your time spent will pay dividends throughout the year.

Work smarter. Some people pride themselves on how much time they work. They work 12-hour days and they think they should win a medal.

You're not getting a merit badge from me if you work yourself silly — especially if you're in sales. There will be some people who think that if they work more than eight hours a day, they'll make better numbers. But even efficiency experts agree with me.

Industrial efficiency pioneer Ernst Abbe in 1908 published his conclusions that a reduction in daily work hours from nine hours to eight resulted in an increase in total daily output. Henry Ford studied productivity for 12 years and showed that cutting the workday from 10 hours to eight hours — and the workweek from six days to five days — increased total worker output and reduced production cost. Work smarter, not more.

Don't sleep less. Do you think you could get more done if you slept less? Forget about it.

You won't be more productive with less sleep. Even worse, your thinking will be poorer. In Gallup Poll surveys, 56 percent of the adult population reports that drowsiness in the daytime is a problem. In research done at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, they found that sleep-deprived individuals are able to maintain accuracy on cognitive tasks, but speed declines as wakefulness is extended.

You want to take longer to think? Sleep less. Is this what you want when you need to be thinking fast on your feet in front of a tough, new prospect?

Now is the time to make some decisions about how you approach your selling. In tough times, you need to be sharper and work smarter to succeed. Now you know how.
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