Six Ways to Optimize Your Sales Time with DISC
The idea of "sales time" is not a new concept. In my sales career, I have always defined it as my scheduled time during which I can sell something. For example, when I am working bell-to-bell at the car dealership, or when I am making cold calls from 5-7, or when I am developing new prospects at my insurance agency between 9-5. During my set aside sales time, nothing else gets my attention except sales activities -- not Facebook posts, or my Amazon cart, or making weekend plans, or sitting in meetings. All that stuff gets pushed to non-sales time because none of those things make me any money.
Before we dive in any deeper, allow me first to explain how I calculate sales time. When I am consulting with a sales leader, I don't consider all 8 hours of a standard workday to be actual sales time. That would be totally unreasonable and would transmogrify the best sales leader into a miserly micromanager. I encourage them to allow an hour for lunch, and another hour for breaks, including minimal socializing, sales meetings, and unavoidable hallway conversations with "you-know-who." That leaves a solid sum of 6 hours each day that should be applied with reckless abandon to valuable sales activities. Second, I remind the sales leader each salesperson receives their own allowance of 6 sales hours each day. That means a four-person team has 24 hours each workday to sell. Now it gets interesting!
Let's examine 3 aspects of sales time:
- Each hour of sales time has monetary value. Consider my friend Kevin, who has 2 full-time salespeople working in his office. Last year, Kevin's team sold 586 units for $1,000 each during their net 3,132 combined sales hours. That means each hour of sales time has a value of $187. When an hour of precious sales time is blown on non-sales activities, everybody loses money.
- Each hour of sales time has opportunity value. Kevin and his team closed an average of one sale every 5.3 sales hours. What does this mean? Each hour of successfully executed sales time advances the team about 20% closer to a new sale. Conversely, when sales time is wasted on non-sales activities, that impending sale suffers a setback and everyone loses money. Again.
- Each salesperson is the steward of their daily allotment of sales time. According to Kevin, his team members typically squander about 10% of their daily sales time on "harmless" non-sales activities. (Keep in mind; I am not referring to bio breaks and lunch.) In total, the team misused 313 sales hours last year, which cost Kevin an additional 59 new sales and $59,000 in gross revenue. If you misplaced a $59,000 check, I wager you would not dismiss it as a "harmless" loss!
Let's now look at six ways sales leaders can optimize their team's sales time without falling prey to the “Dark Side” of micromanagement.
- Use the DISC Sales Profile to provide individualized sales time motivation for each salesperson:
- Give “D” styles a sales time challenge, as they are competitive and goal-driven by nature. Allow them the opportunity to decide what they should focus on during their sales time. Provide visual recognition they can proudly display for reaching or exceeding sales goals.
- Give “I” styles an incentive, a promotion, or an opportunity for personal recognition. “Is” get bored with routine. Allow them the opportunity to mix up their sales time activities so they can keep it interesting.
- Give the “S” styles a sales time routine that happens every day at the same time. Unlike the “I” style, “Ss” love following routines and structured processes because it helps them feel more secure. Allow them the opportunity to discuss sales time challenges with you.
- Give the “C” styles the details about why sales time is important, how much it’s worth, and the statistical probability of success. Allow them the opportunity to organize their sales time with lots of structure.
- Help them overcome "call reluctance." This is the mental interference that obstructs salespeople from picking up the phone and making another call. While salespeople wage this vicious internal battle, precious sales time quietly makes its escape. Start a conversation with your salesperson about the source of their call reluctance. Is it fear of rejection? Maybe a work ethic issue? Possibly a lack of understanding of the value of their sales time? Once the source is identified, then sales time optimization can begin.
- Minimize distractions. No manager can eliminate all distractions, but they can engineer improvements. Move the salesperson away from the window, get a more efficient CRM system, hire a receptionist to manage walk-in traffic, or assemble a service team to chase down signatures. Just keep in mind if a team member is perpetually distracted, they may need a new challenge, more accountability, or possibly a new profession. Read more here on how to overcome behaviors that sabotage sales.
- Introduce a new incentive. Promotions and incentives have a magical way of bringing focus to a salesperson's day. As soon as a new challenge arrives on the sales floor, distractions fade, call reluctance loses its grip, and the eye of the tiger rises again.
- Hold salespeople accountable for daily sales activity targets. There are some who will read this point and think I am endorsing micromanagement. On the contrary, I am simply encouraging sales leaders to set sales activity targets as part of their everyday coaching. When salespeople have a leader who helps them succeed by clearly marking the path that leads to success, everyone wins! Sales activities, when done persistently, systematically, and enthusiastically, produce the desired results.
- Discover their "why." Everyone has a driving force, or a why, that spurs them to get up and slay their daily dragons. For some, it will be the dream of a comfortable retirement. Others will have parents, children, or extended family who rely on them for financial support. Still, others will have ambitions of advancement that motivate them to diligently keep their hand to the plow every day. When a team member trusts you enough to share their why, it helps them filter out the distractions that sabotage their sales time. More importantly, they experience a sales leader who actually cares about what is important to them. At the end of the day, isn't that what really matters?
When a team begins to understand the monetary value of sales time, its powerful potential, and its finite daily limits, they will more consistently capitalize on the opportunity hidden within each sales hour. It's like finding a map to buried treasure! Every sales hour, packed full of valuable sales activities, is a step toward unearthing another strongbox of results. Today, coach each salesperson to a better understanding of the unbreakable connection between sales time, activities, and results.