Have you thought about how you can work less? Some might think that’s being lazy. I prefer to think of it as being efficient. My goal is for all salespeople to do the least and get the most. That’s what I call smart selling and being an efficient salesperson. Here’s what you can do to sell smart.
What should I do?
Have you noticed that some tasks really don’t need to get done? Some calls you don’t need to return. Some emails do not really need a reply. The first decision of smart selling is to decide what work needs to get done. Your first decision is a basic one. First decide even if you need to do something. Not all calls get returned or even answered. Some emails don’t need a reply. You don’t have to meet with every customer.
You might hesitate to implement this new strategy. Here’s how you can start. Ask yourself, “What would happen if I do nothing?” That question is not as simple as it sounds. To answer it you must think about possible long-term effects and consequences of not doing a task. Do the task now if not doing it creates a bigger problem or more work for you later. Sometimes you might not be able to make the decision. My rule is in that case, when in doubt the answer is no.
I challenge you to become an efficient salesperson and notice the results. I’ll bet if you make a thoughtful decision to ignore some items that the results might pleasantly surprise you.
Another option is to delegate the work. Before you assume the responsibility of the task, ask yourself if someone else should be doing the work. Just remember, when someone asks you to do something you always have the option of saying no. Don’t create more work for yourself when another person can do that work instead.
When should I do this?
I find that putting things in the right order saves me time and effort. My first question isn’t “What should I do first?” I first ask, “What can I delay?” Some tasks can be put off until a later date. Why? Because at a later time they might not even need to get done. Some problems resolve themselves. Calling about a delayed order might make sense if it’s a first-time order. Other times, you just wait another day and find out the order was delivered and no action is needed.
What repetitive work can I simplify or automate?
The ultimate efficient salesperson never does the same work twice or simplifies what work that does need repeating. Start to notice the tasks you repeat over again. When you think of automation you think of a machine doing the work for you. Software helps me automate the work I do.
Do you, like I do, write proposals that include the same information? I use Word and create AutoFill items for the multiple sentences that I need to repeat over and over again. I don’t want to spend my time typing the same sentence in different proposals. AutoFill makes my work simpler and saves me time.
What electronic information do you need again and again? Make that easier to access and use. Try to reduce the amount of work you need to do later when you get back to your office. Do it now is my mantra for simplifying my selling.
Please consider working smarter and more efficient this year. Selling is a challenging enough career which makes it more important to make your work more efficient. I particularly agree with the writer, Robert Heinlein. He said, “Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” Make your selling easier!