Sales expert Jill Konrath did not mince words when she spoke recently at The University of Texas at Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management about sales people being at the top of their game.
In her book, “Competitive Edge: Fresh Strategies for Winning More Sales in Less Time,” she took aim at the tools sales pros rely on — social media, their laptops, and their phones.
Her blunt advice: Put them down.
As in, quit checking email, messages, and Twitter. It is draining your brain of the energy it needs to be productive.
“We have to do something differently if we are dealing with really smart [customers] who really know their stuff,”said Konrath, author of “Agile Selling, SNAP Selling and Selling to BIG Companies.” “[Potential clients] have zero tolerance for someone who is just going to dump a spiel on them.”
Her pet peeve? Sales people who leave long-winded messages on her voice mail. She demonstrated with the audience that it took a matter of a few seconds for most listeners to hit the delete button.
Feeling “overwhelmed” — among clients, co-workers, and sales pros — is the new norm, she said. One way to feel less overwhelmed is to stop checking each time something new hits your inbox.
“You need to really think about protecting your time. It’s your most valuable asset.”
The Professional Sales program at UTD, which brought in Konrath, is headed by Dr. Howard Dover. He said that in a private meeting between Konrath and local sales executives, she talked about ways to improve productivity and ramp up the performance of new sales team members, telling them first to rank the biggest inhibitors to productivity.
For Konrath, part of the cure for working smarter is just working. She relies on several apps, including Pomodoro, which breaks tasks into 25-minute time chunks.
“We’ve got to control our habits, but it’s so frickin’ hard,” she said, citing research that shows constant multitasking lowers women’s IQ by five points, and men’s by an astonishing 15 points.
Other apps she uses to offload her email crush include SaneBox and unroll.me.
“You need to really think about protecting your time,” she told the audience (many of whom were checking emails and Facebook posts as she spoke). “It’s your most valuable asset.”
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