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Work smarter, not harder. You’ve heard it a million times, and it’s never been truer than it is today. Distractions are a fact of life. Here are five smart ways to cut through the noise, focus on what’s important, and exceed your sales goals—without raising your stress.

  1. Eliminate distractions. Salespeople and marketers face a sticky predicament. Social media is a necessary part of your job. Your customers appreciate a personal touch and accessibility is crucial. If a potential customer is poised on the edge of a sale and asks a question on social media, a competitor has the opportunity to steal your sale right out from under you. If you don’t answer fast enough, you’re toast. And if you hang out on social media all day, your sales goals are toast.

The hack: use a social channel monitoring program to set alerts and see only work-related messages. Schedule regular posts with news, chatty comments, quotes, and wit to keep your feed active, and check in on those during your down times, breaks, during commutes, and at lunch. Otherwise, avoid opening social media pages like the plague, lest you be sucked down the endless rabbit hole of cat videos, baby photos, and political bickering.

  1. Re-organize your day. Take a hard look at your to-do list. If tasks are just rolling over from one day to the next in an endless loop, and nothing is really ever finished, your to-do list is useless. The problem with to-do lists is their undefined nature. Humans work much better with deadlines.

The hack: Make your tasks super-specific, and schedule a time to get a small group of tasks done. For example, here’s a terrible, but typical, task list:

  • Return sales calls
  • Write reports
  • Send emails

Instead, write a list that looks like this:

  • 8AM – 9AM: Process and respond to incoming emails. Set calendar alerts for follow-ups.
  • 9AM – 9:30AM: Return sales call to [contact name] at [company name] [link to contact record]
    • Call Notes:
      • [What they need]
      • [What we can do]
      • [Potential upsell]
      • Update customer record.
  • 9:30AM – 10AM: Contact existing customer [contact name] at [company name] [link to contact record]
    • Call Notes:
      • [Purpose of call – social, congrats, just checking in to see if you need anything?]
      • [Mention new product launch]
      • Update customer record.
  • 10AM – 10:30 Run sales report and prioritize new leads based on customer data.

Break your day into chunks of time filled with just a few well-defined tasks, and check them off as completed. After completing a group of tasks, take a break.

  1. Learn to delegate. Routine tasks, scheduling, and paperwork can be handed off to an assistant. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to hire someone because you’re not making enough money, consider how freeing up your time to follow leads and close sales will impact your bottom line.

The hack: Hiring and training an in-house assistant may strain your budget, but virtual assistants have become common. You should be able to find one who is easy to work with and needs little direction, and because they are paid only for time spent working, it will cost less than you expect.

  1. Qualify leads. Stop chasing bad leads. Just stop. Low sales numbers on a high-quality product often indicate time wasted on leads that will never pan out. A not-so-great product or off-target marketing are other possible reasons, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

The hack: Get a CRM or project management software with lead management tools, and spend your valuable time on warm, pre-qualified leads with the best chance of panning out. With the right tool, you’ll be able to prioritize leads and maximize your time.

  1. Create a routine that maximizes your strengths. Be aware of your own patterns. What time of day do you make the most sales? When do you struggle to answer simple questions? Trying to negotiate when you’re at your worst is counterproductive and may be hurting your sales. You need to sound confident and knowledgeable.

The hack: Schedule your most demanding work during the times you feel sharpest, usually in the morning. Get the hard stuff out of the way and save the least demanding work for mid-afternoon, when most of us are falling asleep on our keyboards.

Taking your sales above and beyond your goals involves working at your best, and ignoring the things that sap your time and energy, including distractions, inefficiencies, and cold leads that will never close. These hacks will help you maximize your sales and blow your goals right out of the water.


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About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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