If you are to succeed in sales it is imperative that you do the important things first.
The oft-told story of efficiency expert Ivy Lee’s meeting with Charles Schwab, then President of Bethlehem Steel illustrates the importance of this principle.

In explaining his services, Lee told Schwab that with his program “you’ll know how to manage better.” Schwab’s quick retort was, “Good heavens, I’m not managing as well now as I know how to. We don’t need more knowing, but more doing. If you can give us something to pep us up to do the right things we already know that we should do, I will gladly listen to you and pay you anything in reason you ask.”

With that, Lee was told that Schwab had twenty minutes before he had to catch a train. Lee asked Schwab to take out a blank sheet of notepaper and in the next twenty minutes he would show Schwab how he could “step up his doing by at least fifty percent.” Basically, he told Schwab that he should write down the six most important tasks that he had to perform the next day and then number them in order of importance. Lee told him to “put this paper in your pocket, and first thing tomorrow morning look at item one and start working on it until it was finished. Then, tackle item two in the same way; then item three, and so on. Do this until quitting time. Don’t be concerned if you only finish one or two. You will be working on the most important ones. The others can wait. If you can’t finish them all by this method, you couldn’t have finished them by any other method and without some system such as this one, you’d probably not even have decided which one was the most important.”

“Do this every morning. After you have convinced yourself of the value of the system, have your men try it. Try it as long as you wish, and send me a check for what you think it is worth.”

“In a few weeks, Schwab sent Lee twenty-five thousand dollars with a letter telling him that the twenty minutes they had spent was most profitable. Over the ensuing years it has been said that this method was responsible for the growth and profitability of Bethlehem Steel.

Working at the one job at hand is as logical and effective today as it was in Schwab’s time. If you worry about all the other things you should be doing while you work at important sales tasks, you’ll only drain yourself of effectiveness. Forget the other tasks and concentrate until you have finished the one task and you will be astonished at how profitable your time can be spent. If you really want to get things done, you’d better begin planning for your success.
It is as easy as:

1) Defining and setting measurable goals and plans,
2) Working out definite timing and activities, and
3) Then concentrating on the essentials.

If you don’t know where you are going, you certainly will never get there. Working according to a plan and setting priorities is the key to successfully selling products and services. You must be able to manage your time and focus on those activities that will bring you closer to your goals and eliminate those that won’t. Your time is money and the more time you spend on effective activities, the more success you will see.

One Response to “Managing Your Time Will Increase Your Sales”

  1. If you’d like a tool for managing your time and activities, you can use this web-application:


    You can use it to manage and prioritize your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version and iCal are available too.

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Copyright: The Business Performance Group, Inc.
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