5 Mental Tricks Salespeople Can Use to Get More Work Done
If there was one thing (besides flaky prospects) that salespeople could change about the role, there’s a good chance that most of us would choose to be more productive. There are so many demands competing for our time and attention, and so many other distractions that take time away from selling, that when you break down the actual time most of us spend focusing on activities that move the needle you’d be lucky to break fifty percent.
While some technology (like Spiro) can help us become more efficient in our sales lives, it’s up to us to figure out the best way to work in order to get stuff done — and when it comes to efficiency and self-discipline, everybody is different. But whether it’s easy for you to sit in that chair and focus or not, there are always ways to improve our productivity, and many of them don’t require years of practice, just a few simple mental tricks.
Here are five tricks salespeople can use if they want to get more work done:
1. Do the most challenging tasks first
While there are two schools of thought on this approach (some people prefer to get the easier stuff out of the way to notch up some quick wins), most of us find the prospect of working on our most challenging tasks to be daunting, which is why it can be extremely helpful to get the day started by jumping right into the deep end. This way, by the time your motivation starts to ebb, you’ll (hopefully) be finishing up the thing that kept you up at night, and you’ll be able to move onto doing the things that relatively require less effort.
2. Break down big tasks into smaller, mini-tasks
Things that are daunting usually feel that way because of their sheer magnitude and the effort required to accomplish them. This is why breaking down big tasks into smaller, more achievable goals, called mini-tasks, can be so effective. This approach allows us to look at things in terms of hours or days, rather than in terms of years. So if you’re looking at a sales goal that appears unattainable on its face, break it down into days, then into daily activities, which will make it look more realistic, and, therefore, attainable.
3. (Physically) remove all distractions
Even the most strong-willed among us will get distracted by a phone chime or an email notification popping up in that browser tab. No matter how much self-discipline you have, you’ll be tempted to check, rather than stay focused on whatever productive activity you were already working on. The solution to this problem is to physically eliminate all distractions. If you have a browser window open, close it. If your phone keeps beeping with (non-work) notifications, put it on Do Not Disturb or even away in a drawer. The key to distractions isn’t just to ignore them, it’s to put yourself in a situation where they won’t be a factor so you can stay focused.
4. Plan your day based on your natural energy
Most of us have a natural flow of energy: times during the day when we feel more motivated and energized. For some, this happens first thing in the morning before the day has worn us down. For others, the late afternoon or evening is when we get our energy burst. No matter what side you’re on, it’s important to work within your natural energy rather than to fight against it. Of course, this isn’t always easy, as some tasks can only be done at certain times. But in this day and age of remote work and ever-connectedness, you can absolutely prioritize tasks based on your natural rhythms. And if you don’t, then you’re doing yourself and your potential a huge disservice.
5. Create a rewards system
Rewards and incentives work, and they can be an effective mental trick to help us get things done. Think about the things that you might consider rewards throughout the day. Maybe it’s a snack that you really like. Maybe it’s twenty minutes on Twitter or your favorite sports site. Whatever it is, use the reward as motivation to get things done. For instance, if you want to get through a major prospecting sprint, make the reward an incentive for completing all your calls. That way, you’ll not only have something to work toward, you’ll also create a positive reinforcement mechanism that you can then tie to your daily activities.
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