There is a saying that we have all heard, “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it.” It also seems that those who produce the least amount of work are usually the ones who haven’t any time.

Research conducted by behavioral scientists regarding the success patterns of top sales people show that they are constantly on the go. Those people producing the most sales in every field of endeavor are the ones who have interwoven throughout all their sales activities, the driving theme to “work smarter not harder.”

One of the cardinal principles of successful sales people is to work according to a plan and to set priorities. The assessment of daily priorities is usually the first order of business each day—or the last order of business before they go home at night. Most also review their long-term priorities at least monthly. There is a constant need for top producers to screen out the unimportant or unproductive activities. Excellent sales people and savvy business professionals know what must be accomplished and binding personal commitments to achieve their goals, then they plan their time accordingly.

Profiles In Courage, a book written by John F. Kennedy, quotes young John Quincy Adams in a letter to his father. This letter illustrates his grasp of the important principle of planning and shows strength of character and wisdom far beyond his nine years of age. He writes:

Mamma has a troublesome task to keep me studying. I owe I am ashamed of myself. I had but just entered the third volume of Rollin’s history but designed to have got half through it by this time. I am determined this week to be more diligent. I have set myself a stint to read the third volume half out…”

“I wish sir, you would give me in writing some instructions with regard to the use of my time, and advise me how to proportion my studies and play, and I will keep them by me and endeavor to follow them.”

What John Adams knew at an early age and what some adults never seem to learn, is that to really succeed in achieving important goals in life, you must carefully plan your activities and the time you allocate to them. Top sales people recognize that the “art of getting things done” is as important to their sales success as any other basic sales principle. Successful sales people have mastered this skill. Not being able to recognize the need for daily planning or not admitting you need improvement may be your biggest stumbling block to sales success.

E. T. Klassen, a former president of American Can Company, said that planning and the planning process is of itself a “driving force” to success. It forces you to determine where you are going and to explore all the alternative strategies in getting there. Planning forces you to evaluate and then choose the basic strategies you’ll use to attain your goals. It forces you to balance your resources against the opportunities you encounter along the way. Most importantly, it forces you to choose a system by which to judge your performance. Klassen has written:

“Few of us like to accept discipline. None of us like to feel hemmed in. But we must concede that the requirements of planning are the very same requirements that determine our success of failure in today’s business world. Guessing is out. Planning is in.”

A great American salesman, Michael Gore said the following concerning time:

“You won’t find it in your wallet, or your bank account. You can’t borrow it, you can’t work hard and earn more of it. And certainly, you can’t hoard it. In fact, all you can do with it is spend it.”

Time is a universal medium of exchange for success, available to all who would spend it wisely. Your sales success will be in part a direct result of how you manage this valuable, diminishing resource.

Top sales people like Gore are increasingly sensitive to their use of time. They know that through planning they can find at least one additional productive hour each working day. Through effective planning and improving your ability to concentrate on the important tasks at hand, you too can improve your sales success.

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Copyright: The Business Performance Group, Inc.
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