A note to a new TM: A new way to think about time and client management.

My friend,

It’s easy to think that allocating the same time and effort to each of your clients will generate the best results for you and for them. Unfortunately, some of your clients may not feel the same way. There are clients in your territory that don’t care if you or your organization wins. There are clients that are quietly working against you. In order to avoid wasting time with the wrong clients I recommend categorizing your accounts based on two criteria: 1) their will to be a great partner; 2) their skills and ability to grow with your organization. For example:

You have clients that are excelling and don’t need a lot of assistance. They are self-motivated and results-oriented. Support them with frictionless service and they’ll likely continue to be a great partner. You have clients that are aspiring towards something greater than their current state–more money, simpler processes, market advantages. Invest your time and resources in to these clients in order to generate positive leverage. You have clients that are capable but need you to hold them accountable and to push them in the right direction. Finally, you have clients with neither the will to grow (with you) nor the skill to do so. Spend as little time as possible with these folks.

Highly successful sales reps covet their time. They treat it as a scarcity and measure its use against production or output. Many low performing sales reps inadvertently fall victim to the “clickbait” in their schedule and measure their results in terms of the number of activities they complete rather than the results they deliver. This is a preventable situation.

Try this: Review your schedule over the last quarter. Which clients did you see? How frequently? Why did you visit them? Did you have a development plan for your meetings or were you “shooting from the hip?” Do you see any patters of both good and bad time management? Did your investment generate the right results? What decisions will you make differently in the future?

As the new quarter begins you have an opportunity to re-boot your time management decisions–prioritizing clients based on their willingness to partner with you and their ability to learn. This also means saying “no” to clients who lack the will and skill to grow with you and your organization. These decisions are yours to make and reflect your sales acumen. Remember, activity and output are not the same thing.


Published by Matt Plughoff

Exploring the next evolution of small business success.

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