Recently I delivered an online sales training courses to a customer of mine.
It became clear that managing time was a big issue in this group. People are extremely busy with day-to-day activities. That means that important things, such as new business acquisition and self-development, are hardly possible.
This is a classic time management problem that I have seen many times in my career as a sales trainer. And, by the way, have experienced myself as well… 🙂
Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th American president, once stated
“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”
From this quote the Eisenhower matrix was created. It simply displays the urgent and important category in a matrix like this:
On the vertical axis we plot Important vs. not important and on the horizontal axis we plot urgent vs. not-urgent. That leaves us with 4 quandrants.
The biggest problem for most people is, that urgent things get too much attention. Sometimes others urge them to do things immediately and when they’ve done it, it lands on a desk somewhere and stays there for some time. It ruined your time-management and wasn’t necessary.
✅ Of course, you shouldn’t spend too much time with not-urgent / not-important (bottom-right) things. If something like that lands on your desk, don’t do it or do it very quickly. But remember Murphy’s law: everything takes more time than you think it will do.
✅ Important things that are not particularly urgent (top-right) should be planned, otherwise, they are neglected (top right).
For instance, calling potential customers, learning that new CRM system, preparing your next year’s plan, or developing your sales skills with our awesome training-app. Or even better, participate in one of my great (online) sales training programmes.
As a salesperson you need to fill your pipeline with new opportunities and the best way to make that happen, is to plan time in your agenda for cold-calling, cold-E-mailing, LinkedIn social selling, follow-up on previous contacts etc.
There are no excuses not to do that! If you had planned a live customer appointment at that time, you wouldn’t have been able to respond to E-mails, colleagues at your desk with all kinds of questions, customers that need information etc.
So it is a good habit to frequently plan some time (for instance in the morning, when you are at your best, somewhere between 10 AM to 11 AM) and not get distracted by anything else. Simply isolate yourself!
Maybe start with some exercises in our awesome training-app (shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes) and, when you’re in the sales mood, call those suspects, prospects and customers!
The problem is that this upper right quadrant gets the least attention and is extremely important! Because if you don’t plan to do it, at a certain moment in time these issues pop-up top-left…
✅ There’s no doubt that Important things that are urgent (top-left) should get your immediate attention. But be aware, “Important” is a qualification that is often over-estimated. Is it really important, for you?
✅ Urgent things that are not important for you can best be delegated. In practice, people spend most of their time in this quadrant: sorting out urgent things that are not important.
The easiest way to improve your time-management is:
☛ finding ways to ensure that the top-left quadrant doesn’t eat all your time (by having the right processes and procedures in place, and fill the top-right quadrant to prevent important things from becoming urgent),
☛ when the top-right quadrant is filled, stick to your planning,
☛ eliminate or minimise the bottom-right quadrant,
☛ and find ways or people to help you with the bottom-left quadrant.