This is not another soapbox sermon about time management. There are literally thousands of books on that subject already. Those of us who have been in the business of selling for decades have already settled on our own “tried and true” methods of getting the job done. We have email, we have a mobile phone. But if we all have the same tools, what gives us that edge over our competitors?
To squeeze more efficiency out of your tools and processes, you have to put them “on steroids”. It starts with spending a few minutes each day pinpointing when you are not producing but just doing busy work. Think about what you could do to improve your efficiency. Here are a few places to start:
- Is your Smartphone synchronized with your business email and contacts? You would be amazed at how many people answer “no” to this obvious question.
- Is your CRM software always open (on your desktop or Smartphone) showing you what is next on the to do list or are you shuffling through yellow sticky notes and loose papers looking for that scribbled phone number or name?
- Are there any customer business cards on your desk? Move the information into your contacts database and get the cards off your desk (and into the trash basket) so they will be with you all the time.
- When your desk phone rings, does it also ring your cell phone? This is pretty common technology now and allows you to remain available even when you are out of the office. (In fact, why do you still have a desk phone?)
- Are you making use of newer communications technologies like Skype, WebEx or GoToMeeting? Reducing travel means more time to book business. Odds are that your competitors are already using these tools to get a leg up on you.
- Can you tether your Smartphone to your laptop to give you internet access anytime while you travel?
- How quickly can you locate items in your notebook? Are you organized by date or should you consider organizing by project or customer? There is lots of software (OneNote, EverNote, etc.) to help you do this.
- Is all of your collateral available and ready to send out (electronic and hardcopy) no matter where you are? Try storing it in the cloud on Dropbox.
The important point here is not the actual solutions (these will differ for each person), but rather to invest some time thinking of ways to better use your tools to step up your efficiency. This continuous improvement is what you need to stay a step ahead of your competitors.