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TIME IS YOUR GREATEST ASSET

The biggest impact a salesperson can make on their day RIGHT NOW is to have a plan on how you manage your time.


TIME IS YOUR GREATEST ASSET.


You'd be surprised how much time you actually have when you have a focused plan of attack to tackle the day.


The most glaring issue I see in salespeople is the influx of RFPs they have vs. the amount of time they think they don't have to do the job. It's understandable, no one ever teaches how to manage and balance time in school. We learn how to do it the older we get and the more responsibilities we have. We get busy, we get married, we have kids, we take care of aging parents, we become the boss, and we have hobbies. We slowly add things to our plate; before you know it, we are slammed, tired, and overwhelmed.


In the current market conditions, there is an avalanche of business and labor shortages. There is more business than ever before and fewer people to do the job. This is not unusual. Companies for years have been trying to do more with fewer staff. We don't have to fall victim to it. We can find a way to manage our day where we are productive, we move the needle, we don't feel overwhelmed and we feel a sense of happiness and accomplishment at the end of the day.


Here's how:

Time Buckets: Schedule your day into buckets. Physically schedule calendar appointments for eating, meditating, workouts, prospecting, administrative, creative time, and account management, Do this the same way you would a phone call or a physical appointment. STICK TO IT. There will always be a fire drill here or there but the fire drill shouldn't be the norm. A day full of fire drills means poor planning. Plan better and you'll have fewer fire drills.


Don’t let your email rule you. You rule it. Make a list of your top 5 projects or clients. Make that list visual so you can visit it throughout the day. When you start your day give yourself 90 minutes to sort your emails by those projects or people. Solve those problems first. Move on to the rest of the day. I do not read emails in date order. I sort my emails throughout the day based on deadline, revenue stream, and importance. I handle those first and then go back to date order when I am done. This normally takes 90 minutes so I put that 90 minutes on the front of my calendar. Do not look at emails in the middle of the night when you pee. Do not look at emails first thing in the morning before coffee, water, or collecting yourself. How you start your day is how your day will be. If you start your day letting email rule you in a frazzled race, this is how the rest of your day will be. Be in control of your day by being in control of your emails.


Set your office and desk up physically for speed. What’s within your wingspan? Try it.

Sit in your office or at your desk. Put your arms out into a T. Spin in your chair or at your stand-up desk. Do you have everything you need to do your job within arm's reach? Bullet points for the top 3 objections,

3 testimonials from happy customers.

stats/figures/sq footages/facts about your product or service.

All you need are 3 of each on one piece of paper or visual reference.

Try and keep everything within arm’s reach so you can grab it quickly for reference. Answering a quick question on a call because you have a bulleted visual aid in front of you vs. having to call someone back will help you gain 10 minutes back in your day. If you do this 10 times a day, there are 100 minutes back. It may take you 10 minutes to create a cheat sheet to gain 90 minutes a day--DO IT. You won't regret it.


Make a list the night before of what you need to accomplish the next day.

Limit it to five big things. Keep your eye on your work throughout the day. Are the actions you're taking in service of the big 5? If not, stop that action and re-route to the big 5.


Buffer time. Give yourself space between phone calls and meetings. The biggest mistake I see my sales coaching clients making is scheduling back-to-back meetings. Give yourself at least 20 minutes in between meetings to pee, drink water, stand up and stretch, digest the information you just heard, make some action notes about what's next and prep for the next call. You are doing a disservice to your company, client, and self by not giving yourself space to absorb and activate from the previous call before going to the next. Also, your brain doesn't work well under those circumstances. You're setting yourself up for failure, future anxiety, and burnout by not scheduling time in between phone calls and meetings. Make it a practice that whenever you schedule a call--add 20 minutes in a separate appointment immediately after for yourself. Going from call to call to call is not the mark of a super successful salesperson. It's a mark of someone who has trouble setting boundaries with clients/vendors/bosses/subordinates. It's also a mark of someone who mismanages their time and who is quickly headed for burnout.


Schedule administrative time.

Set one administrative day or afternoon each week to do all the planning and non-revenue-producing activities (i.e. prospecting lists, scheduling future calls, account management planning, strategy sessions, research, billing, and software updates).


Schedule a reading day or week. Put it in your calendar to stay relevant.

Bill Gates schedules a reading week once a year. That’s more than most of us can

take, but he's pretty successful, so giving yourself a day or even a half day of uninterrupted reading to make your business better is worth it. Knowledge is power and reading will enhance your value in the marketplace and further establish yourself as a thought leader. (which means less prospecting time and more taking clients that value you)


Take breaks. Schedule this in your calendar. I set "daydream" breaks in my calendar. Every 90 minutes, I take a 10-minute break. Take a TRUE BREAK. No screen time, no internet, close your eyes, and give your brain a true break. During my breaks, I swing on a swing in my backyard, play ball with my dog, take a walk in my neighborhood, meditate, and go talk to my husband. You'd be surprised how productive you are when you give your physical eyes and brain a break. We look at screens all day. Give those eyeballs a break. You'll come back to the table recharged and way more productive.


Manage your own and your client’s expectations. If someone wants a proposal for 2028 and you are working on 20 proposals for 2023, let them know.

It's totally acceptable to say:

"Hey, I just got your RFP. I am so excited to dive into it. I have a couple of burning deadlines today but yours is number one on my list to get back to you by Friday."

This way, you're acknowledging that you got their RFP and managing the expectations of the return time. For the client that doesn't understand, are they that great of a client anyway? For the client that truly needs the info now, they will explain why they need it and if it's a true make-or-break situation, you can find a way TOGETHER to get it done. This should be the exception to the rule. You'd be surprised how a little communication goes a long way.


Cut the bullshit out of your day. What are you doing now that you don’t need to be doing? Are you gossiping? Are you reading political news for 90 minutes when you start your day then forwarding emails and memes about it for another 60 minutes? Are you hanging just a little too long in someone's office doorway? Involving yourself in stuff that doesn't move yourself or your business forward takes productive time out of your day. Reclaim your time and your day and take inventory of how you spend your days. What part is BS? What part is actual productive stuff that moves the needle forward? Really look inward on this one and cut it out. I bet you find at least 2 hours.


Fire clients that waste your time, bring you stress, hurt your guts, or don’t appreciate you. We all have these clients. It's not worth it. If you've explained something in an email and a phone call and they still want to schedule ANOTHER 60 minutes to talk about it, find a way to fine-tune that relationship. If you've done your best to guide a client to make a decision and they refuse to make one. If you've done countless hours of work for a client and it still isn't good enough. If a client makes you feel bad about yourself or keeps trying to make you "prove" yourself after you've done solid work for them for a while, fire them. It's not worth it. Take inventory of your client list. Is there reciprocity in the relationship? Do you respect them and their time? Do they respect you and your time? If the scales are tipped, find a way to even them out. If there is no way to even them out and they still suck the life and time out of you, fire them. Firing them is going to give you back more time to service your existing good clients AND find new clients that fit the DNA profile of you and your business better.


FOCUS. Really focus. "Be where your feet are" This is a quote I heard over the years and have stolen for myself. Whatever you are doing, at that moment--FOCUS ON THAT THING ONLY--. Trust me, when you are "multi-tasking" while on the phone with a customer....WE CAN HEAR YOU. You're not doing yourself or your clients any favors by doing an email to another client while you're on the phone with me. If you were a strong listener and focused on that moment, you might get more business out of me on that call instead of spending an hour calling on a new customer. Do a morning meditation about focus. Make focus the most important thing you do in a day. If you're in a sales cycle to find new clients, make that the focus of everything you do. Make it visual "FIND ONE NEW CLIENT TODAY" Make that your computer screen saver, put it on your phone or on your wall. If upselling is your focus, put that in front of you. If doing it all is a focus then use those time buckets to manage different parts of the sales cycle. The biggest thing that derails your time management is your lack of focus on what you are supposed to be doing at that moment.

Focus on one thing at a time. Embrace the micro-moment. Move on to the next


The biggest error I see businesses make is the way each salesperson, business owner or employee manages their time. I see it all the time in sales coaching. I see it all the time as a client too. I’ve personally made the mistake myself over the years. Time is our greatest asset. How we use our time can make or break us financially. Do not waste time with anything that does not move you, your life or your business forward in a productive or joyous way.

Using your time wisely will create balance. Abusing your time will create distress.


Mandi Graziano is the best-selling author of Sales Tales: The Hustle, Humor, and Lessons from a Life in Sales and the founder of Facetime Coaching Company: a sales coaching and training business since 2007.


For more spirited conversations about time, sales, business, and life visit www.mandigraziano.com or on Linkedin, Instagram or TikTok.


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