A Sales Training Lesson in Time Management

The Question

In my sales training, I am constantly asked by sales reps, managers, business owners, and entrepreneurs “how can I manage my time and get more done”? It seems as though the majority of those who inhabit this planet are mired in an endless sea of distractions, interruptions, and dysfunctional behavior that all leads to a habitual routine of non-productive behavior.

No one who asks that question ever likes my answer. You probably won’t either.

Truth is, even though there have been countless books written on the subject, and endless sales training classes taught by gurus traveling the country preaching their brand of time management salvation – there is no such thing as a time management problem.

Self-discipline problem – yes. Lack of clarity about one’s life – yes. Lack of focus – yes.

Lack of clearly defined goals and commitment to the behavior that is necessary for the attainment of these goals – yes. Unwillingness to eliminate anybody and anything from their life that gets in the way of achieving their most desired objectives – yes. Ruthless elimination of the time wasters, and non productive – even enjoyable behaviors – that lead to nowhere – yes. Lack of courage to accept being misunderstood – perhaps even not liked – about time utilization – yes.

Time management problem – No!

The Answer

The fact is, time cannot be managed anymore than the tides in the ocean or weather patterns or the seasons of the year. The only things that can be managed are your thoughts and your behavior. Period!

If one is to become a highly productive individual acceptance of this fact is mandatory. Once accepted slovenly and lazy behavior can no longer be tolerated. When extreme acceptance of this principle is embraced, every minute becomes precious and takes on added importance. Unwillingness to accept this high degree of personal responsibility comes with guaranteed membership to the mediocre majority. To quote Frank Bettger in, “How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling”, “most successful men I have ever met are absolutely ruthless with their time”. The word ruthless being carefully selected for maximum effect.

There is a reason that 15% of salespeople sell 65% of everything that is sold. I have observed that the more successful a sales professional the less tolerance they have for anything that detracts them from their objective – especially prospects that have no need, urgency, commitment, or money. These same professionals realize that most prospects are a waste of time and they employ the strategy of “extreme disqualification”.

Just yesterday I had someone email me that they were interested in talking with me about the possibility of becoming a Licensed New School Selling Trainer and they want more information from me about this. I responded, as I always do, and sent them a simple two-page application to fill out and fax back to me as a prerequisite to agreeing to talk with them. I do this because I know most of the people who inquire about this are either not serious or they are dreamers without money. I refuse to waste my time talking to dreamers who are not serious.

They have not faxed the application back as instructed.

No harm, no foul.  I certainly did not waste the better part of an hour “shooting the shit” with someone who would merely turn out to be a tire kicker. You should do the same.

David Shepherd

Thanks Steve,
Just what I needed to get my “mojo going” The only problem with disqualification is convincing others that a particular customer is a waste of time. I call them non-preferred customers.

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