I am reading the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. Although the book was written in 2001, the principles are still relevant today whether using paper based organizing tools or advanced electronic tools such as smartphones and tablets. I know, you are thinking “Great here we go with yet another time management book.” Yes it is a book dedicated to organizing and productivity. As a matter of fact the sub-title is “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” That is what grabbed me. I must say that I am not even halfway through the book yet, and I am captured.
The book’s primary point is that we all suffer from having tons of “stuff” to do, both work oriented and personal. The reason I write about it here is that your representatives have tons of “stuff” to do too. They are not just robots that can shut off their personal lives when they walk in the door. Most people struggle with the concept of personal productivity. Do not take for granted that your sales representatives are any more skilled at managing all their stuff than anyone else. My suggestion is to help them get productive. Take the guesswork out of it for them. Let those that are skilled at being productive soar. They do not need help. But those that need help, give them the help they need. Which means you may need to specifically lay it out for them. You may need to provide them with the tools to manage their stuff. Give them guidance on an organizing system. Dictate for them how to structure their week if necessary. Your job as sales manager is to lead them. Sometimes that means leading them in terms of selling and winning business. Sometimes that means giving them guidance and a system to be more successful. Get over the tendency to believe that they are big girls and boys, and it’s their job to figure it out. You will be doing yourself a favor if you can help your representatives stick to a system that helps them manage their “stuff.” They will be more productive and less stressed, which in turn, allows their creativity to thrive, and enables them to relax and interact with customers and prospects with a fresh perspective, which might just create the environment to close more business.
During this holiday season give your representatives the gift of productivity. Spoken in the words of Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving, Clark.”