By Frank Visgatis, President & Chief Operating Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at

“I don’t need sales training. I need time management!”

0-hourglassOver the course of training salespeople over the last 20+ years, I have had the opportunity to work with people across the experience spectrum. From people whose first day in sales was sitting in my workshop to engaging with sales pros who have been at it for 10, 15 or 20+ years.

I always start my workshops by asking, “What is a particular selling difficulty you’d like to get addressed over the course of this workshop?” More often than not, the length of their tenure in sales directly impacts what they would like to focus on. In other words, the longer the tenure, the less likely they are to have an internal locus of control versus external. Quite often, especially from the more experienced people in the group, I hear quotes such as the one referenced in the above title.

While I won’t claim to have a solution that fits every single salesperson, my experience is that there are two universal things that salespeople can do that will dramatically impact their ability to manage their time in a positive fashion.

1. The first is to honestly grade their pipeline and flush out the crap that just isn’t real. Too often we confuse activity with accomplishment when the reality is that if we would just aggressively qualify the deals we are working on, the number of “opportunities” eating up our time would decline dramatically.

2. The second is to get better at negotiation. The ugly reality for a salesperson is that if they provide a percentage discount in order to secure a piece of business, what they are really doing is just creating more work for themselves. In other words, if you discount a deal by 20% in order to secure the business, does your quota go down by 20%? Nope. Now ask yourself this question: “How many new opportunities do I have to put into the top of the funnel to replace the revenue I just gave away?” 

As the theory of Ockham’s Razor states, (and I’m paraphrasing): When all things are equal, the simplest solution is probably the right one.

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