I think too much of our work week is spent on spending and not enough of our work week is invested. Let’s look at the difference. What are the different ways that we spend our time? I got to tell you the one that seems to come up most often when I talk to salespeople about this is that we spend so much time in customer service kinds of things. I know it’s not your fault, you didn’t ask for it. Perhaps your company has done away with some of the support that used to be around you, but we tend to spend way too much of our time fielding calls from customers who need help with some sort of an invoicing issue, they’ve got a problem with delivery. They don’t know who to call for this or that and you become the go-to person that they always reach out to anytime they have a question.And that’s fine I guess because I want to be the first point of contact for that,I want to help them all I can, but in a lot of cases you’re doing the job or you’re taking over the job of some other people in your organization that could be helping you.I know some of you are saying,“I’ve got to do it all myself,I want them to always call me first.”I get the spirit of that, but the problem is that you end up spending a lot of your week of fielding these kinds of calls and handling things that could be handled by the accounting department, could be handled by somebody in customer service, could be handled elsewhere.

Some of you might say they won’t handle it right,I’m the only one that knows how to do it. Maybe we need to get better at training some of these people how to respond and how to handle some of these issues. Maybe we need to get better at delegating, handing off something to somebody and say, here’s the issue, would you look into this and get back to the customer. And you provide oversight to that, but getting other people involved in helping you with the things that customers call requesting. We spend a ton of our time in customer service and customer support you and some of you will argue that’s actually an investment.I’m investing in retaining and keeping the customer happy. True, but you’re using up your resources that could be better invested in some other ways, which we’re going to talk about.

Sometimes we spend way too much time in internal meetings.Now that may not be your fault. Maybe you go to your sales manager and you say,“I’ve looked at our calendar for the upcoming week and I see that I’ve got 10 hours in meetings coming up, is there a way that we could cut an hour of that out? Or maybe two hours? Is there away we can compress some of this stuff?”I think your sales manager would be more than happy to brainstorm and figure out some ways to free up you and your colleagues to do some more selling, so that you could invest some more time with customers.

How much of our week is spent in just procrastination, in water cooler talk, in going out to a long lunch with the gang? I’m not trying to step on any toes here but if we look at our work week and we actually sit down and analyze how we’re using our time I think you would find a number of ways that time is being spent that could potentially be better invested. Now, you’re never going to invest one hundred percent, just as you’re never going to invest one hundred percent of your money. Sometimes you spend money on a vacation, which might be an investment in your family, but think about how we could invest more of our work week. Invest in prospecting, invest in building your pipeline, finding more new sales opportunities. If we could just take one hour away from busy work and apply that one hour toward prospecting, for many of you that would be a 50 percent increase in how much time you spent prospecting this week.Again,I’m not trying to step on toes, but prospecting and business development and pipeline building ends up becoming very low on the list and we need to move it up the list and invest more of our time in that.

We need to invest more time in proactive outreach to existing clients; calling people back, seeing how that last installation went; making sure that they’re actually happy with the delivery; checking to see when the next project is coming up and following through with things. All of us could do a better job of taking care of our existing clients, keeping in touch, talking about where they are today and where they want to go tomorrow. And then tomorrow find out where they are on that day and where they want to go the day after that. We want to be constantly renewing that discussion about where they are today and where they want to go in the future. We should probably invest more time face-to-face with customers. Those of us to have the opportunity to go see clients, we should go see clients. We all know that face-to-face can create far more energy and far more cooperation and collaboration that a simple phone call can. And when we go see clients the likelihood of meeting other people in the account while we’re there increases dramatically. You always learn some things that you never knew before you went over to see them. And I think in today’s age of email and other instant messaging we’ve lost the fine art of going to see customers and definitely think we could invest a little more of our time there.

We should think about investing in ourselves. Investing in our own personal development. Sometimes that is training, like you’re doing now–congratulations! You might be educating yourself more about your industry, about your market, about your company and the products and services that you sell. Or just educating yourself more about the businesses in your area. There are a lot of things you could do to feed your mind, and then your mind has more capacity to produce energy and ideas to go out and help you earn more money. These are just a few ideas, hopefully some of this will help you

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