There are a number of items I want to take a look at in defining the problems of sales time management. When we start to define time management it must be in terms of our total life, all aspects of our life. Our work is only one part of our life.

What parts of our life do we set goals that are important to a balanced life? Family? Spiritual? Social? Health? Marriage? Leisure? Self? Education? Career? Wealth?

The order of these segments is not as important as how we perceive their importance in our daily lives.

Let's take a look at the time we have for any or all of the above. There are only 24 hours in a day. Most of us will sleep six or eight hours a night. Let's assume we sleep seven hours; that leaves 17 hours in the day. Most people eat at least three times a day, taking anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes each time. So let's deduct 90 minutes for eating, leaving us with 15 hours, 30 minutes. We work 10 hours per day (including travel time), leaving us with five hours, 30 minutes.

That may not seem too bad, but then think about how much time is spent in front of the TV. Most people spend very little time in the areas where we need growth and direction. The mismanagement of our time outside of work is often the reason why we mismanage our time while working.

I am only going to talk about the work portion of our day. The eight hours we spend trying to accomplish the goals set by our managers. I often hear people say that they don't have time for the all the things assigned to them. This may be true in some cases, but all too often it is a lack of planning that is causing their problem.

Use it wisely

Time is a valuable asset that is given to each of us. The average U.S. employee works 233 days per year and earns around $40,000. That means every hour is worth $21.44 and every minute is worth about 37 cents. Time is money: your time and your money. Take some time to figure out your available time.

Most sales people spend:

25% of their time getting ready to make the sales call.

30% of their time traveling to the sales call.

15% waiting on their customers on nonrelated and nonproductive items.

It adds up to 70% of their time non-selling to the customer. Out of the 8 hours salespeople are out there "selling," they are actually selling for only 2.4 hours. If you see 6 to 8 customers a day, that means you have between 18 and 24 minutes for each of them. This is why I always pushed for salespeople to state that their calls should not exceed 15 minutes and should be kept under 10 minutes.

If you work 233 days a year and you make 6 calls a day, that's only 1,398 calls in a year. Lets say you have a sales quota of $ 1,000,000 a year. It doesn't take long to figure out that each sales call should yield $715.31 to make your quota.

From these figures you can determine where to spend your time and receive the maximum benefit. Why would you spend a lot of time and effort on an account who will not help you meet your goals?

(Dave Gleason has more than 40 years of experience in contracting, engineering and wholesaling. He has put these experiences into a comprehensive consultation and training company called Systematic Selling Inc., which offers customized sales seminars and workshops. Contact him at 1165 Antioch Campground Road, Gainesville, GA 30506; phone (800) 447-7355; fax (717) 698-6555.)