The Calendar Is Restricted for Salespeople

Time management is the single most important skill a salesperson can master

At first glance, you might think that compared to other professions, time management should be relatively easy for a salesperson.

After all, whereas teachers need to be in the classroom at set times and doctors need to meet with their patients when scheduled, salespeople appear to have nearly unlimited flexibility. In practice, however, the calendar is more constricted than you might think. This is in part because there are numerous tasks that salespeople have to complete that are entirely unrelated to selling. These include internal meetings with managers and other colleagues; administrative tasks, such as expense reports and customer relationship management documentation work; and miscellaneous tasks, such as booking travel and forecasting sales.

In my experience, these activities take up approximately four hours per week; so, assuming you work forty hours per week, that means that half a day is lost to non-sales activities. That is the equivalent of approximately 200 hours, or twenty-five workdays, over the course of a year. Selling time can quickly disappear. Yet the weight of administrative tasks is not the only thing that cuts into selling time; another challenge is that there are some periods when it is virtually impossible to connect with clients.

Specifically, it is very difficult to schedule meetings after 2 p.m. on a Friday because people often like to wrap up the week and not take meetings at that time. The same holds true for Monday mornings when most people are just starting their week and want to allow some time to plan, rather than commit to meetings. This means that another five hours per week are taken off the table, which equates to approximately 250 hours or 31.25 eight-hour workdays over the course of a year.

For salespeople, the calendar is restricted. Hence, time management is the single most important skill a salesperson can master.

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