I give a lot of seminars on business development; how to get in the door with prospects, how to get better outcomes from prospect meetings, how to overcome objections, how to increase sales with current clients, you get the idea. Whether I have business owners, VP’s of sales, sellers or non-sellers responsible for generating business in the room, everyone has the same problem. THEY HAVE NO TIME. They say to me…
“These ideas are gold. But my schedule is packed; I am swamped. How can I find time to implement what I just learned?”
If this describes you, too, here is an exercise you can do to find time in your busy day to devote to business development. I call it the R and N Exercise.
R and N Exercise:
- Keep a log of how you spend your time for 2 weeks.
- For each activity put an “R” next to any time blocks that are REVENUE generating activities (meaning NEW business, not business you would have had anyway). Put an “N” next any NON-REVENUE generating activities (including generating reports, answering customer or internal inquiries, filling out paperwork, etc.)
- Total the hours per week spent on revenue generating activities. If it’s 2 hours per week or less, it’s not enough. The more time the better but there is definitely a threshold where it’s not enough to make a difference.
- Identify which Non-Revenue generating activities don’t need to be done at all moving forward and which ones need to be done but can be done by someone else (think carefully before you decide you are the only one who can do a non-revenue generating activity). You may need to discuss your list with your manager to get buy in.
A business owner I know has 10 sales people. After doing this exercise they discovered each seller was spending approximately 3 hours per week answering customer inquiries. The business owner was shocked because he had put a system in place whereby the operations people would answer inquiries. When we discussed it further the sellers said they answered inquiries themselves because they felt the operations people took too long to get back to the customers. They were protecting their relationships but at the same time using time that could have been devoted to business development. The fix was communication. First, the two groups discussed the definition of reasonable response time. Then, the sellers introduced the operations people to their customers to springboard relationships.
Finally, the receptionist was trained to direct customer inquiries for existing orders directly to operations and new orders directly to sales. The result…the company gained 30 additional hours PER WEEK for revenue generating activities. That is significant and, came as a result of doing the simple R and N exercise.