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Selling Hours or Janitorial Hours?
A full year gives us time equity of 8,760 hours. The use of these hours is a personal choice under our
direct control. However, one thing we cannot control is the number of available selling hours in a year.
There are approximately 1,760 selling hours in one entire year. That's all. A rather sobering statistic.
Here's the math: Your customers work approximately eight hours a day and there are approximately
220 selling days per year (8 x 220 = 1,760). The 220 selling days is the number of business days minus
weekends, holidays, and wasted time throughout the year, including travel time and doing personal
chores during the business day. These numbers may vary depending upon industry, but for the sake of
discussion I use 1,760.
During valuable selling hours you must organize yourself to maximize face-time or talk-time. Don't
perform administrative obligations during selling time. Do those activities during the janitorial hours,
outside the 8 AM to 5 PM selling hours. Having worked with large and small companies, I've often
witnessed salespeople who don't appreciate what time it is. I see them in the adult daycare center
during the day doing their expense reports or call reports, updating customer files, and performing
general administrative obligations. There are approximately 4,400 janitorial hours in a year: the time
available to perform your administrative tasks. Successful sales entrepreneurs know that selling is not
an 8 AM to 5 PM job. They carefully plan their days to maximize selling time, and use the after-hours
time to complete administrative activities. So, next time you're thinking of getting your hair cut, getting
the car washed, or doing your expense report during selling hours, refer to Tim Commandment #3, Page
Principle #3: Manage Your Time

Time management is a personal process. It takes a strong commitment to change long-established
habits. According to the 80/20 rule, we get 80% of our results from 20% of the things we do. This
statistic supports the observation that we spend a lot of time on time-wasters and obligations. Imagine
the impact on our time efficiency if we increased the 20% to 30%!

What takes us from a time-starved day of routine, frustration, and stress to a productive day filled with
accomplishments? Change. One definition of time management is doing fewer things in less time.
Wouldn't that be great?
Research suggests that effective time management strategies can free up a minimum of two hours per
day. For example, time management studies show that we spend up to 70 minutes a day just looking
for stuff. [1] How many times have you said, "Just a minute, I know it's here somewhere." We misplace
files, reports, memos, and letters, and our desks look like the movie Twister was filmed in our office.
Clutter can be a huge time-waster, not to mention the embarrassment of lost or unanswered requests.
Your goal isn't to have a nice neat desk, but to get organized so that you can convert wasted time into
productive time. However, with a clean, orderly desk, you'll improve your time working on priorities that
will make you money. Your quality of work will also improve.
The underlying objective of effective time management is to utilize all available resources to increase
face-time, the time spent talking face-to-face with existing customers or potential customers. If you're
an inside salesperson, increase talk-time. Take some time to determine how much time you actually
spend with customers. Take a stop watch and clock total face-time in one entire week. On average, it's
only two to four hours. [2] Shocking! This statistic serves as additional proof of the inordinate amount of
time consumed by time-wasters and obligations. I recognize that with leaner companies salespeople
are often saddled with more of the administrative aspects of the job. Unfortunately they become
high-priced administrators. This brings us to Tim Commandment #4.

Tim Commandment #4
Manage your time equity.
Ask: Is this activity the best use of my time right now?

How many times a day should you ask yourself if you are making the best use of your time? If you
answered "several," you're right. Only you can answer that question honestly. As the president of ME
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Inc., don't compromise your ROT by blindly filling your day with busyness. Restructure your day to
eliminate the time-wasters and minimize the time spent fulfilling obligations. Sometimes working in the
office on a project or on a presentation could very well be the best use of your time. I doubt that you can
ever eliminate time spent in the adult daycare center, but you certainly need to minimize it. Use
janitorial time to fulfil your obligations.
As part of your time-efficiency study, you should determine the time of day that you are most efficient
and productive. Know your peak time, the time of day you are at high energy. Not everyone has the
same peak time. Some of us are morning people and others are afternoon or evening people. Pay
attention to your moods and high-energy time of day to determine when you're most productive. Morning
people can accomplish more simply by getting up an hour earlier each day, and night owls can carve
out time for administrative activities in the evenings.

Once you have identified your peak time, do your worst jobs then. They won't go away so you might as
well get them done when you're feeling energized. Some authors suggest doing them first thing in the
morning when you're feeling fresh. This approach works well if you're a morning person but could be
disastrous if you're an afternoon person. Imagine doing your worst job at your worst time of day. Two
"worsts" don't make a right! In my case, prime time is during the late afternoon and early evening. I
prefer to schedule important meetings or presentations later in the day, anytime after 2 PM. I did most
of my writing for this book between 3 PM and 9 PM.
Another suggestion in the interest of maximizing your ROT is to learn how to say no. Many of us are
our own worst enemies. You'll never have enough time to finish your own tasks if you're always taking
on more than time permits. Don't be afraid to politely refuse a request or task if your plate is already full.
This includes saying no to your sales manager. When given a task, simply ask your manager, "Would
you like me to do this now or would you prefer I spend the time selling?" Your manager may decide to
delegate the task elsewhere. It's great to want to help others, but not at the expense of ME Inc.
Principle #4: Use the Right Tools

A professional (sales entrepreneurs included) is anyone paid to perform a task or a job at an acceptable
level of proficiency while utilizing the tools of the trade to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. I am
amazed at how often I see salespeople conducting business with inappropriate tools. It's as though
they're exempt from the requirement to be a professional. Imagine your doctor or dentist using anything
but the best instruments. Your customers expect no less of you. As a sales entrepreneur, you have an
obligation to invest in the best. You may have heard it before, "A carpenter is only as good as his tools."

The solution begins with a personal planner”a time management system that offers the convenience of
portability while organizing your activities, mapping your week and, most importantly, planning your day.
A good planner includes twelve months at-a-glance, 365 individual day-pages, a daily to-do list section,
and an appointments section. Some planners come with a rigid set of instructions, so pick a planner
that offers simplicity and the flexibility to meet your personal preferences.

A planner used effectively not only buys you time, it helps you stay in balance throughout your week,
including weekends. Poor time management skills result in overspending your time, running out of day
before you get everything done. I compare it to managing a checking account. Imagine opening a
checking account at your local bank then not using a checkbook to track the account activity. Surely
you would find yourself out of balance at the end of the month, possibly overspending your available
funds. Without the appropriate tool to track your time-related activities, you quickly find yourself out of
balance, overdrawn on your time account.
Taylor, Harold. Time Management Seminar. Calgary, Alberta. 1993.

Author Research.
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Sales Automation
What's the best time management tool for the sales entrepreneur: the almighty computer or the
personal planner? The debate continues. I have witnessed and have been a part of many lively
discussions weighing legitimate pros and cons of the laptop computer as a time management tool.
My position is this: Computers are great for certain tasks but time management isn't one of them. In
spite of all our wonderful technologies it appears that the good old pencil and paper system is still
viable. More and more professionals who were initially romanced by time management software
programs are returning to the convenience, simplicity, and portability of the personal planner. I'm not
suggesting people are littering our highways with abandoned laptops, but they are learning to work in
harmony with a laptop or a palm pilot and pencil and paper. The ideal system seems to be a
combination. It's no longer an either-or decision. Don't compromise your productivity by restricting
yourself to only one system. Incorporate the tools that work best for you, maximizing your limited
selling hours. Caution: Donít get overly seduced by technology and look like some sort of technological
rambo. KISS.

Bear in mind that my comments are directed at outside salespeople. I appreciate that a
computer-based time management program may be appropriate for inside salespeople, while a portable
time-management system may be redundant. However, you may want to consider a smaller version of a
personal planner or a palm pilot to organize your activities outside the office.

As a sales entrepreneur, your computer should be viewed as a portable database, allowing you to work
in the field and access or update customer files utilizing a good contact management program. This
allows you to retrieve important information prior to your appointment, including current account data,
inventory levels at the warehouse, available shipping dates, price levels, and data specific to your
customer. You can also store and retrieve such pieces of information as the name of your customer's
spouse and children, dates of their birthdays and anniversaries, hobbies, outside interests, and favorite
summer activities. You decide what data are relevant. There are several good contact management
programs available. I prefer Maximizer and ACT, because both programs offer a host of features to
manage your account base, saving valuable selling time.

The computer can be a great asset when utilized outside the customer's office, but it can become a
liability in the customer's office. Sometimes a laptop just isn't convenient and may even be
cumbersome, intrusive, and time-consuming. Laptops should be used in a customer's office only with
permission, whereas you don't need permission to work with a planner. The big plus of a planner is that
it's quick, convenient, portable, and useable anytime, anywhere.
Principle #5: Be Proactive, not Reactive

I would suggest that up to 75% of our day is spent reacting to the needs and requests of other people
such as customers, managers, internal customers, family, and friends. We are constantly bombarded
with demands on our limited time, leaving us unable to accomplish our own goals and objectives. No
wonder we feel the frustration of, "So much to do, so little time."
We often succumb to the demands and requests of others because we think it is socially inappropriate
to say no. We become victimized by others who may have a strong interest in controlling our activities
or behavior”such as a spouse or a manager. Unfortunately many people, including salespeople, are
content to be regulated and manipulated rather than committing to SMART goals and living life guided
by their agenda, not someone else's. No one ever accomplished a personal goal by being subservient to
others. Successful sales entrepreneurs refuse to be swayed by the whims of others and are quietly
effective at managing their own agendas. Employers and managers sometimes do more to demotivate
rather than to motivate. Demotivation can take the form of intimidation or high-performance expectations
constrained by rigid management policies and limited resources to perform the job. No wonder so many
people want to take this job and shove it.

A proactive strategy means developing the discipline to stay focused on your agenda, your goals, and
your objectives. Part of this discipline comes in the form of qualifying the severity of a problem prior to
reacting to it. For example, next time a customer informs you of a problem or a concern, resist the
temptation to immediately jump into react mode, drop what you are doing, and race over to console
your customer. It may not be necessary. The next time you get an irate customer (or internal customer)
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demanding to see you right away, follow these two steps:
1. Acknowledge the problem. Allow the customer to vent by explaining the situation
and then clarify your understanding of it by paraphrasing. Be sure to take notes of
your discussion for future reference. By acknowledging the concern and showing
empathy, the customer will begin to feel better about it and may become somewhat
flexible as to how and when you resolve the concern. A sympathetic attitude to a real
or imaginary product or service failure cannot be overemphasized. A 10-minute phone
call to determine the facts and the seriousness of the problem may be a valuable
investment, possibly saving you hours of unnecessary running around. Work smart,
not hard.
Suggest another time. Tell the customer that your day is full with appointments and
commitments and ask if first thing tomorrow morning would be okay to get together.
Your business and time are just as important and legitimate as that of your
customer. You are equals. In the majority of cases, your customer will appreciate
your schedule and agree to meet with you the next day. Too often we assume that
we must respond immediately, but by following these steps you will save yourself
valuable time. Sometimes, however, the customer may be insistent that you respond
immediately, in which case you must act accordingly.

Another good tactic is to start building flexibility into your day. By this I mean schedule your day to
allow for "poop happens." Allow time between appointments or activities to deal with interruptions that
are sure to occur. Interruptions and problems are a natural component of everybody's day so don't
ignore the fact that they happen, and plan accordingly. Don't try to pack too much into one day by
scheduling consecutive appointments and meetings. Plan what you can reasonably expect to get
accomplished that day and allow time to deal with inevitable interruptions. I suggest that you let the
60/40 rule be your guide; don't plan more than 60% of your day. The remaining 40% is reserved to deal
with unforeseen yet inevitable interruptions. It also helps prevent the list-layover syndrome where we put
unfinished to-do items onto tomorrow's schedule. If your workday is ten hours, don't plan for more than
six hours. Once again, if you pack too much into a day, you will surely have to make rigorous cuts, deal
with unfinished tasks, and wrestle with unnecessary stress. Remember, one of the aspects of a
SMART goal is "attainable." Make your daily activities attainable.
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If You're on Time, You're Late
This concept needs to be taken literally. Punctuality is certainly one of several prerequisites to a
successful meeting, but it doesn't seem to be taken very seriously. Many salespeople arrive at
appointments with barely 30 seconds to spare before sitting before a potential A or B opportunity. Not a
wise thing to do. We are all time-starved, but don't compensate for it at the expense of short-changing
mental preparation time. If you have a 10:00 AM meeting, be there no later than 9:50. Don't come flying
in at 9:59, out of breath, and still dealing with road rage. You need those few minutes to mentally
prepare for the meeting. Although you are there physically, you are not there mentally. You may even
want to take a few minutes in the washroom to give yourself a final check before the meeting.

Don't be late. Customers accept very few excuses for tardiness”bad weather doesn't cut it. I once
overheard a sales manager quip to a rep who was 15 minutes late for a meeting: "There are only two 8
o'clocks in the day. How can you screw it up?" If you are unavoidably late, even by one minute, call
ahead to inform the customer of the situation. It's very professional and it's appreciated.
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Embrace Stress: A Timely Suggestion
One of the biggest, most transparent time-wasters is stress. When we experience stress, it can
handicap our performance and distract us. We typically experience a low energy level. Stress intrudes
on our time efficiency and reduces our level of productivity. To some extent stress is inevitable and
beyond our control, but how we handle it is well within our control. A five-year study published by the
Families and Work Institute showed that growing demands at work are creating problems at home for
time-starved employees. They end up feeling too stressed to work efficiently. Growing pressures on
employees often negatively affect home lives and in turn, work lives. The study goes on to say that a
high percentage of employees always feel they don't have enough time for their families or other
important people in their lives because of their jobs, and 61% sometimes feel that way [3]. A recent
survey by KPMG found that 57% of the 1,216 respondents were ambivalent about their current jobs,
whereas only 25% were very satisfied. No question that this level of indifference creates stress and an
attitude of frustration. For many, stress is a cause of deteriorating health, decreased productivity, and
poor time management. The way I see it is some people show up to work dealing with sleep rage and/or
road rage, and then go home frustrated by job rage”and then more road rage. What a day! Consider
this; what tires most in life is not what we are doing, but the thought of what we haven't done yet.
So, what is stress? Stress is our response to various events or situations: stress is a reaction. The
cause, or stressor, is neutral. Stress is often viewed as the enemy, a debilitating virus that cripples our
productivity and unknowingly robs us of our precious time-equity. Stress has negative connotations.
Libraries and bookstores are full of stress management strategies. However, stress can be positive, too.
Stress may be the high level of anxiety we feel during a change in our lives, or it may be the keen sense
of concentration we experience when faced with an exciting new challenge out of our comfort zone.

Stress is a great motivator. We can be motivated toward something (positive stress) or motivated away
from something (negative stress). Positive stress keeps us focused, motivated, energized, and
challenged. It can have tremendous impact on the efficient use of our allotted time-equity. Positive
stress can enhance our performance at work and at home. When faced with a stressor, we need to
remember that we can control our response. We have the "response-ability" to transform the reaction
into a response that is positive. We also have the responseability to lower our stress tolerance. In his
book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and It's All Small Stuff, Dr. Richard Carlson says that, "Our stress
level will be exactly that of our tolerance to stress." In other words, people who say, "I can handle lots of


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