4 Lessons in Time Management from Top Performers

Most of the top sales performers that we have ever met are maniacal about their focus. They don’t waste time. But the curious thing is that the intensity of this focus is often masked by what comes across as great “people” skills. They just seem to make everything happen so smoothly.

We see four simple distinguishing characteristics that define those who consistently outperform their peers through a focused effort and better time management.

1.) They deliver for their clients.

At the root of their drive is a passion to serve their clients. This service excellence happens because they know their limits, processes and competitors. They set expectations that they can meet and meet them. They thrive on the recognition that comes naturally from promises delivered. The vast majority of top performers want to be loved by their clients… and they are. This focus on selling what they can deliver is a brilliant time saving reflex.

2.) They hold their goals closer to their hearts.

Goals mean something for top performers and this deep intrinsic motivation tips the scales. In almost any product or service category where we have worked – from wealth and banking to telephony to car parts – top performers play a game seemingly every day. They compare their performance for a period to their goal for that period, assess what they have on the go that will close in the period which produces their forecast and determines the variance, if any. A gap triggers an urgent response. They unleash a flurry of activity and always early enough to make a difference. This reflex for anticipation appears as a healthy paranoia and goal saving contingencies are born.

 Gap-Analysis-Graphic3.) They make better decisions about where to spend their time.

Top performers always go to the highest potential at the highest probability first. They qualify prospects in the initial targeting phase of the sales cycle and continue that exercise with every client interaction. This ongoing assessment almost always seems instinctive. In fact, it is based on deep knowledge of their market, client and decision making processes.

4.) They wear their plans into high power routines.

Top performers rarely ever fall into their success. We have found that they are more thoughtful and deliberate in the early days of their careers. Sometimes this orientation shows up in the fact that they seem to be better “organized” but we say it goes deeper. What may have been early plans shaped routines. Top performers applied these routines more rigorously and these routines paid-off. Success bread success. Gerber, author of the E-Myth, says great performers learn to work “on” versus just “in” their business. We see this phenomena among top performers… they just don’t realize that they are doing it!

Perhaps the coolest thing about our work observing top performers is their humility and desire to continue learning. Cosimo Commisso, a friend and a top mortgage originator ($1B in career mortgages) says bashfully, “Steve I don’t do anything special. I have a great team.” And he does. He is loved by his clients, he doesn’t waste his time on deals that won’t close, he hangs with winners and he works his schedule. That’s it. Cos is a time management master.

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