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Managing Distractions in Sales

Sales is nothing if not structured. Okay, let me try that again.  SUCCESSFUL sales are nothing if not structured. There…that’s much better.  Look around and pay close attention to the successful salespeople and you will begin to see certain habits come to light.  While everyone may have different methodologies, there are inherent similarities with most of them.

In the morning, when these all-stars come in to the office you will see there is a pattern they follow every single day.  Some may get a cup of coffee first, others my check email and make sure nothing urgent has come in during the night.  It doesn’t really matter what they do other than they actually do it.  They have established a pattern and will almost never deviate from it.  There are a few good reasons for why this is important.

In the first place, a pattern allows you not to be distracted from all the tasks you must complete every single day.  When you are prospecting, turn off email.  As hard as they may be, you will never complete a full day’s worth of prospecting if you don’t.  Oh, and that reminds me…turn off your browser, while you’re at it.  The only reason to keep the browser open is if you are looking to the prospect up as you are calling on them.  This will, however, require much discipline as it is very easy to hit a news site or check on sports while you’re waiting for someone to pick up the phone on the other end.  Any deviation from the task at hand, though, is really nothing more than a waste of your time.

Also, established patterns will lead to your prospects and clients knowing that your are dependable.  When I was working as an account manager, my customers knew that it would be difficult to reach me in the morning because I dedicated that time to prospecting and other responsibilities.  I would then spend the afternoon interacting with my existing clients and see to their needs.  They would be ready with questions and requests and we would address them as a team.  It actually worked better for my clients because it would give them time to gather requests and questions rather than making it a sporadic process that lasted throughout the day.  I offered additional structure and became even more dependable in my clients eyes.

There are some sales floors that are more social than others.  If this is the case for you, and you find it is keeping you from achieving your goals, then there are some things you can do and say without coming across as anti-social.  I have seen some very informal departments allow the salesperson to actually run a line from one side of the cube to the other and hang a curtain.  When the curtain was closed, everyone knew to respect this person’s privacy.  I learned another trick from a colleague to simply dress more formal for the day if I knew I had an overly large workload.  Initially, some people were put off by my suits but most understood the rationale from the beginning and didn’t have a problem with it.  Besides, it wasn’t every day and eventually, others began adopting the technique.

Ultimately, managing and minimizing distractions is up to you.  Write down a set of tasks you need to complete everyday and make a list.  Then turn that list into a schedule and stick to it.  It may take some discipline in the beginning but it will soon translate to better sales and that means more commissions.  Trust me, higher paychecks will make it easier to stick to your new routine.

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