How to increase print sales – in just four hours a week

For many of us there aren’t just enough hours in the day

There’s a mountain of jobs that are always awaiting our attention. There are quotes to raise, jobs to chase, artwork to check, production queries, delivery queries, invoice problems and outstanding reports. The list just goes on and on and on.

The worst thing is, often these issues don’t really have much to do with us. It is always someone else who has a question for us, or a demand on our time.

Sometimes our days just seem to slip away. We started off with the best of intentions of achieving something. And then life got in the way. We were side tracked by all the requests that people had for us.

That’s why we should always set aside four hours a week for some sales activity

People who make sure that they do this have a much better chance of creating better relationships with current and future customers. They will start controlling a larger sales pipeline. They have a better chance of achieving the company sales targets.

Make sure you schedule regular time for selling print

Those who do not set aside a little sales time every week will struggle to achieve the same levels of sales. They won’t have the same level of control over their sales pipeline. They won’t be able to focus on client relationships in the same way.

That all sounds great. But how do we actually achieve those four hours every week? Here are three steps to make sure that you can set aside that sales time.

1. Diarise the time

The first step is to actually mark out that time in your diary or calendar. Research shows that the very act of writing down a commitment means that you are more likely to achieve it. I recommend that you set aside four 60-minute blocks or two two-hour blocks. This gives you some sensible amounts of time with which to achieve something. But it is also short enough not to impact on other commitments.

2. Make this time un-interruptible

When you have a sales slot make sure that everyone knows that you cannot be interrupted. It’s exactly the same as if you are in a client meeting. Everyone knows that there better be a very good reason for interrupting one of those! Naturally, it is harder to enforce this if people see you at your desk. So think about some strategies. One is to have a large “Do not Disturb” sign up. Another is to work away from your desk. Can you find a meeting room you can use? Could you come in late to work or leave early and work from home? I know of one person who used to go and sit in his car to make sales calls so that he would not be interrupted.

3. Make this time flexible – but not cancellable

Every now and again there will be something that has to be prioritised. It may be the demand of a major client. Or there could be a really important company meeting. In these instances, it is right that they tae first place. If it is an event for which you would reschedule a client meeting, then it is OK to reschedule your sales time. However, note that I said reschedule, not cancel.

So what happens to everything else that you were going to do in these four hours?

For most of us, our days tend to be reactive rather than proactive. The chances are that these four hours were going to be eaten up by other peoples’ demands. So will you have to stay on another four hours a week in order to get everything done?

In reality, this is not usually the case. Many of the things that people wanted you to do will have magically sorted themselves out by the time you re-appear from your sales time. Often your colleagues will take the easy route. If there is someone else available to sort out an issue, they will pass it on. If that person is not around, they will sort out the issue themselves.

What’s the best way to spend this sales time?

Having this time available can result in some quick sales wins. This time doesn’t have to be all about cold calling new prospects. I will cover some alternative strategies in an article very soon.

Take action now!

Implement the three strategies today:

– Diarise four hours for next week. (If you feel really uncomfortable about this start with two hours and gradually build up)

– Decide how you will make yourself un-interruptible

– Hold open one more slot in your diary in case you have to reschedule one of the original timeslots

Make sure you do this right now. Then you will have four hours for selling next week. You may be surprised at what you can achieve!

Find out more practical print sales strategies in my new book “How To Succeed At Print Sales” – find out more here.
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