Big Waste of Time

Time Log
You often hear industry pundits talking about how much money is lost to industry through such problems as alcoholism or stress. I have no doubt that this is true, but a far more common reason for loss, to real estate agencies at least, is through salespeople not knowing what to do next.

Many salespeople believe that time is lost in large ‘chunks’ – 20 minutes or so. But this is not true: most time is lost minute by minute, a few minutes lost here, a few there, and these lost minutes add up to large blocks of time lost each day.

And there is no bigger waste of time than poor performing salespeople, who steadfastly refuse to follow a plan, thinking about what needs to be done next and, because they have no plan, go off working on some activity that does not lead to a result.

I always believed myself to be a good time manager until I read Alec Mackenzie’s book, The Time Trap. Mackenzie suggests conducting a Time Log to see how much time is actually spent on doing activities that specifically lead to results. Mackenzie says,

To use your time more effectively, the essential first step is to discover what you currently do with it.

As I said, I believed myself to be a good time manager until I conducted a Time Log and, to my horror, discovered that on the first day I did the Time Log I invested a mere 30 percent of my time on activities that led directly to results.

Think about this for a minute: I was doing a Time Log, so I was on my best behaviour, consciously wanting to have a healthy percentage at the end of the day, and the best I could manage was 30 percent.

Every person I have ever met who conducted a Time Log got a similar result on their first day. What does this tell you?

That without clearly defining what activities lead to results, and without putting together a simple plan that leads you toward those activities, you waste a lot of time thinking about what needs to be done next.

This is what I discovered when I followed Alec Mackenzie’s advice and this is what others I met also discovered: thinking about what to do next is a big time waster.

What are the activities that lead to results?

Any activity where you are face-to-face, voice-to-voice, belly-to-belly with potential sellers, listed sellers (Vendors) and with buyers are activities that lead to results. These are important activities.

There are some other important activities such as goal setting, planning, attending sales meetings, etc., but with the exception of attending sales meetings, most other important activities don’t have to be done in broad daylight. But spending as much time with customers who want to buy or sell are ‘daylight’ tasks. The golden rule is to never perform a ‘nighttime’ task during daylight hours.

Our sales program, Winning Ways – Real Estate Sales, offers quite a few time management tips, but to me none is more important that following Alec Mackenzie’s advice to conduct a Time Log. This tool will help you to identify where and how you are wasting your time and, in doing so, will teach you to better value your time and to use it on those important activities that lead to sales greatness.

Although I have told thousands of salespeople about The Time Trap by Alec Mackenzie and, although I know that many of them have bought a copy, some may have even read it, too few actually follow through and complete Time Logs for thirty days.

I even tried offering an incentive to people to do it – a benefit. Here it is:

If you are currently working for 30 percent of your day on activities that do not produce results and you double that to 60 percent, without working an extra minute, you have just doubled your sales!

Now if that doesn’t convince you to read Alec Mackenzie’s book and to follow his advice, nothing will. Such people drift through their careers, wasting time thinking about what needs to be done next, instead of learning what needs to be done, planning to work mostly on those activities, and conducting a Time Log to see if they are actually doing those all important activities.

Of course, how you invest your time will always be up to you.

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