After coaching hundreds of coaching clients one-on-one, I’ve noticed something: The biggest impact coaching has on each of their lives is in the way they manage their time.
I love seeing the freedom they gain (and the increase in their sales) when they learn to run their day more effectively. Here are 7 time management habits that all top-producing salespeople seem to practice.
1. Top-Producing Salespeople Live by Their Calendar
If it’s on their calendar, they do it. No excuses! And if it’s not on their calendar, they schedule it. Every single thing that they do is a task or an appointment on their calendar.
When a request comes in that requires work, they immediately schedule time to address it. When someone sends them a meeting invite, they go right to their calendar. When they get an unexpected lunch invitation, they check their calendar first.
When I say they live by their calendar, I mean it. They run their day—from the moment they wake up until the end of their business day—by their schedule.
2. Top Salespeople Dedicate Time to Their IPAs
All top producers know their numbers. Therefore, they know how many calls they need to make, how many appointments they need to set, and how many accounts they need to close in order to hit their goals.
That means they are also really good at dedicating time to ensuring they hit their activity numbers. If it’s an IPA (Income-Producing Activity), they do it. If it’s not, they either delegate it or handle it during their admin time. They don’t sit mindlessly looking at the internet at 9 a.m. during their peak income producing hours. (By the way, reading this is an income producing activity—so you’re safe! 👍 )
3. They Don’t Let Anyone Hijack Their Time
Top producers have said goodbye to the days of, “Hey, do you have a minute?” When someone stops into their office to ask them a question, they don’t just say, “Sure, have a seat.”
The first thing they do is check their calendar to see if they have time to talk right then. From there, it’s on them to decide the best course of action.
If you want to run your day effectively, take charge of deciding whether the task you’re doing right now or this task that has just popped up is more important. If you’re truly in command of your time, choosing to veer off-course isn’t really “winging it,” since you’re the one deciding what to do with your day, all day long.
This way, you won’t get to the end of the day and say, “So-and-so hijacked my day,” but rather, “I decided that this was a higher priority than that.” Taking control of your time means you dictate your day, rather than letting others do it for you.
4. Top Producers Time Block Their Activities
Time blocking works beautifully when you want to combine tasks and be more effective. If you have admin tasks, you may have to create proposals and prospect. Chunk those activities together—you’ll use your time more efficiently when you put them all together.
When you time block and say to yourself, “This is my prospecting hour,” then for that hour, you’re just prospecting. Later, you can research prospects for an hour.
After that, you can do admin tasks like completing your car log, doing your expense reports, and booking travel. Then, if you have a meeting that afternoon for a networking event, you’re just networking and not worrying about anything else.
When you block chunks of time to work on very specific tasks, you can get ten times the work done in a very short period of time because you have a sole focus. All the tasks you work on then are complementary.
5. Top Salespeople Schedule Time for Planning
Top producers don’t wing it going into the following week. They take time to wrap up the current week, and they plan for both next week and the week after. Every time an opportunity comes up, they make sure that they’re living by their calendar.
If their activity numbers say they need to attend one networking event and have two lunch meetings each week, by Friday afternoon, they are taking time to verify they did those things this week. Beyond that, they are looking at the next week to ensure that they have those activities scheduled, as well as making sure that the following week has time blocked for those activities as well.
They schedule this time to plan ahead each week, so they can get the appointments and meetings they need on their calendar.
6. Top Producers Adjust Their Ideal Week
When people create an ideal week, they often think it’s a one-and-done process. But that’s not the case.
Your ideal week is a living document, so it will be constantly evolving. Setting your ideal week doesn’t mean you have blocked your entire calendar and it’s never going to change.
Say you get a new territory; now you have another day on the road. You have to figure out how to fit that into your schedule. When you realize that something has adjusted in your business, it’s time to pull out your blueprint for an ideal week and tweak it to make sure it still works for you.
7. They Regularly Evaluate Their Non-Negotiables
That scheduled planning time at the end of each week is also when you’re evaluating your non-negotiables. If you don’t really sit in the pain of not hitting a non-negotiable, then you can easily ignore it and move on to the next week. But if you sit in the pain (or truly celebrate when you do hit it), then you’ll know what you need to do to make it happen every week.
As you wrap up your week and evaluate whether or not you achieved those non-negotiables, remember that these are not just boxes you want to tick, but rather your most guarded goals. While you may want to run three meetings per week, you can’t always control when people meet with you.
If one of your non-negotiables is to spend four hours a week prospecting, you can evaluate your calendar and say, “Yes, I hit my goal,” or, “No I didn’t, because I didn’t plan time for it at the end of last week.” From there, you can block time for that work the next week.
Finally, don’t forget that non-negotiable means non-negotiable. It’s paramount that you find a way to make those things happen every single week!
If you want to be a top producer like some of our coaching clients, try implementing some of these tips and tricks. Who knows? Before you know it, you may be a badass, too!
Until next time—go sell some stuff!