The Sales Recruiting Blog

Sales Skills

Sales Skills

Every salesperson has 24 hours in a day—no more, no less. Great sales performers are excellent time managers of how they use each selling hour of each day. As we know, 20% of any sales force generally produces 80% of the total sales for your company. That 20% excels in time management.

Time Management 

  • 95% of what you do is habit
  • If you perform an activity for 21 consecutive days, it WILL become a HABIT
  • Time is, without a doubt, the most important resource that you have
  • How salespeople spend their time determines how much money they will make
  • One hour of proper planning saves five hours of actual doing
  • One solid hour of uninterrupted work is equal to three hours of work with interruptions
  • The average salesperson spends only about 30% of their time selling
  • Concentrate on the IMPORTANT vs. the URGENT
  • Use the principle of “time blockage”

Time Blockage Techniques

The Time Blockage Principle states that salespeople block off periods of time in order to accomplish specific activities. For example, they could block off prospecting and phone calls one week in advance so no other activities can be placed in that specific time slot.

Important activities to pre-schedule each week through time blocking:

  • Sales appointments
  • Sales proposals/Reports
  • Cold calling
  • Customer service calls

The “Important” vs. the “Urgent”

Research in time studies indicates that many salespeople operate in the URGENT box vs. the IMPORTANT box.  In other words, the average salesperson is in more of the reactive mode (urgent) than in the planning mode (important).  The important mode for a salesperson is to drive new sales from current customers and to develop new accounts.  Unfortunately, many urgent activities interrupt the important selling processes, which then hinder new sales development.

Remember the principle that states “one hour of proper planning saves five hours of actually doing.”  A proven technique is to plan each day of your week (on Friday evening or Saturday morning) using the principle of time blocking.

“The Significant Few”
(8:30 am – 5:30 pm)

“The Trivial Many”
(before 8:30 am / after 5:30 pm)

Making quality sales presentations with the correct decision makers

Talking on the phone with anyone who is not directly related to new business development or servicing a present account

Following up on sales presentations – sometimes as many as five times – to get  another appointment  According to a study conducted by IBM, the majority of sales occur between the 2nd and 5th call…and yet 80% of any sales force will quit after only the 2nd contact

Doing paperwork and reports
(do these projects before 8:30 AM or after 5:30 PM)

Concentrating on telephone prospecting to reach new qualified businesses to arrange new appointments

Doing research (internet, business management, etc)

Returning important phone calls – from your customers, prime prospects and management

Doing proposals

Sending sales-driven emails

Doing errands
Driving time

The key to good Time Management is to spend prime selling time — 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday — 40 hours or as many hours as you can, on “A” Time activities.  You will simply make more money because you are using your greatest resource—time—on the highest payoff activities. Excellent salespeople are excellent time managers.

The Productive vs. The Non-Productive Salesperson

One recent study stated that the top 10% of any sales force will outsell the bottom 10% of any sales force by a ratio of 10 to 1.  This top 10% group will also outsell the remaining 80% of the sales force by 2 to 1. How can this happen? We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. One of the reasons why this 10% group excels is that they are excellent time managers and they make every minute count in producing profitable results.


Truly plans their time each day of the week
No set agenda for each day of the week–spends half the day “getting organized”
Concentrates on pre-determined weekly sales calls — has a set number of calls to make on past and new accounts
Spends far too much time in the office “doing paperwork”
Uses the principle of time blockage
Does “paperwork” instead of making high payoff productive sales calls– acts as a “farmer” more than an active sales “hunter”
Consolidates all daily activities into “Appointments,” “Do,” and “Call” time slots
Gets bogged down by the “trivial many” of the sales position–never quite gets  out of the gate!


  • Allocates at least 4 hours per week to educational reading to improve  product knowledge  and sales skills
  • “Sharpens the Sword” every week
Does not have a reading or improvement program to increase their sales skill level

Time is Money

As opposed to many other industries, a salesperson’s time is really “money” because how they use their time as a sales account executive will be directly related to the commissions or bonuses they earn that year.

What Is One Hour of Time Worth?
Annual IncomeOne Hour
(based on 2,000 hours per year)

Here is an interesting tip…each salesperson can gain almost one full day per week by starting their work day at 7:00am vs. 8:30am – 1.5 hours times 5 days equals 7.5 more hours per week or almost a full day.  That additional time, when used properly, will increase their bottom line income with more commissions.


Do you need to hire a top 20% sales person?

We can help you find a top professional sales person or sales manager for your company and help you eliminate costly sales hiring mistakes. Contact us at, call 678-421-1950, or message us via our contact page.



Sales recruiting expert and author, Jack Scherer helps business leaders drive new sales via our unique Sales Assessment Test and Custom Sales Playbooks. You can read Jack's sales books here, or hire him for sales seminars and workshops.

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