Sales and Sales Management Blog

January 7, 2007

Finding Time to Service Clients

Filed under: prospecting — Paul McCord @ 8:26 am

One of the most difficult tasks most salespeople have is finding time to prospect and service their clients. For many salespeople, their pipeline is a roller-coaster. They have a decent month of sales and then spend all of their time servicing those clients. What follows is a month or two of starvation while they reload their pipeline, resulting in a month of decent sales–followed by, of course, a month of servicing clients, followed by a month or two of starvation.

How do you break this cycle? There are only two ways: 1) find a method of generating clients that doesn’t require you to spend 60-80% of your time prospecting, or 2) get organized.

The first method is certainly the preferred. That is the subject of my bestselling book Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals. It teaches the tools, techniques and strategies the true million dollars a year sales mega-producers use to generate their huge volume of referrals. It works for any salesperson in any industry and will not only increase your sales 200, 300, 400% or more in just months, it will reduce your prospecting time to only 20-30% of your time.

But if you aren’t generating a ton of high quality referrals, then you must find a way to spend a great deal of time prospecting AND taking care of your clients. That means you gotta get really organized if you want to avoid the roller-coaster effect.

I’ve found one of the most effective methods of getting organized is to structure the week so that you have very specific tasks to do at certain times of the day and you stick to them. For example, let’s assume that your best prospecting hours are from 10 am to 4 pm, but Friday is a lousy prospecting day after 1 pm. Then you structure your time so that Monday through Thrusday you are prospecting from 10 until 4, period. You do nothing else during those times. That leaves Friday. You prospect on Friday from 10 until 1. Monday through Friday you get to the office at say, 7:30 and work on service work until 10. On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, you work on service work from 4 until 6. On Tuesday you work on marketing from 4 until 6 and then again on Friday from 1 till 5. You do not deviate from this schedule without extremely good reason. At the end of the week you’ve spent 27 hours of the week prospecting; 23 1/2 hours servicing clients; and 6 hours a week marketing (sending out marketing emails, writing and sending out letters, working on fliers, etc.). What if you don’t need to spend 23 hours servicing clients? Then take those extra hours and shift them to prospecting, even those aren’t “prime” prospecting hours, don’t waste them–do something to make money. Same if you don’t need 6 hours of marketing time. The key is to use all of the “prime” prospecting time for prospecting and then work servicing and marketing around that time. Don’t allow yourself to lose the best prospecting hours because of some service work. Service work can usually be done almost anytime. And what if you have a service phone call that must be made during prospecting hours? Take advantage of the time you must spend in the car going from appointment to appointment. Turn travel time into service time.

As a salesperson you really only have one thing to sell–your time. You must decide what you are worth and then structure your time to generate those dollars. Evaluate everything you do in those terms during business hours. Is it making you money? If not, why are you doing it? That doesn’t mean you might not have a non-productive acitivity on occasion that you engage in. You certainly may. Mentoring another salesperson isn’t money-making per se. But it is productive in other senses. However, if you send all of your time mentoring, you’ve lost sight of what you are supposed to be doing. You have two activities that make you money–finding customers and making sure they are satisified by meeting their wants and needs. Do your activities achieve one of those ends? If not, is it something you should be doing?

Structure your week and then evaluate based on the two above tasks and you’ll find much more time to smooth out the roller-coaster. Better yet, learn how to generate a large number of high quality referrals and you’ll be spending far more time making sure far more clients are happy–and taking home a far bigger paycheck.

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