New and veteran health insurance agents can boost your sales and your productivity by adopting proven time management skills. They are essential to your sales success.
Here are eight tips to consider:
PRIORITIZE – AND TACKLE IMPORTANT OR EASY TASKS FIRST
This is one of the most important things you can do. Every day, identify the two or three most important things you need to do, then do those first. Don’t put off things that may take less than two minutes – just do them. (That includes emails, returning a phone call, or delegating a task to a colleague.) Getting quick, easy tasks out of the way immediately benefits your productivity. If you get those done, the day has already been successful. Then you can move on to other things.
SCHEDULE TIME FOR PROSPECTING
You need to set aside time specifically for prospecting, so it becomes a habit. (That’s especially true for new brokers.) Sales is all about numbers, so the more time you devote to prospecting, the more successful you are likely to be. For tips on prospecting like a pro, read Carrie Berens’ post on the Sales Babble site.
SCHEDULE ADMIN TIME
Just as with prospecting time, it’s important to set aside time for administrative tasks. While tasks like customer service and sales paperwork are non-revenue-generating, they are important to your business in the long run. If you don’t take care of them each day, postponing everyday tasks could create problems later on. (You may be able to automate some everyday tasks; see our suggestions below.)
KEEP ONE CALENDAR – AND “ZONE” YOUR DAY
Using one calendar for all of your meetings, appointments, and tasks is ideal. Include deadline notes as well as milestones for achieving your tasks – like follow-up emails, phone calls, whatever you need to do. This can help you stay on track. If you get interrupted – which is likely – don’t allow those interruptions to take you too far off schedule. Some experts recommend you “zone” your calendar and divide your sales territory into four distinct areas (or zones), focusing on one each day. They suggest that by breaking your territory up into geographical zones, and working in one zone daily, you’ll have hardly any wasted time driving long distances. They also recommend that instead of booking appointments based on the prospect’s schedule, you push to only schedule appointments with prospects on days you will be in their zone. By doing so, you can free up time to make more cold calls per day.
AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN
Performing routine tasks over and over can really eat into your schedule. Implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program can help you get that time back. Email marketing is easy to automate, and it can pay for itself by helping you increase your sales to current customers and generate referrals that can help fill your future pipeline. You can also automate your appointment confirmations, which can save you even more time.
USE AN INBOX AND LIMIT YOUR EMAIL CHECKS
Setup your email, so it’s easier for you to sort it for action – by you or someone else. Review each, so you understand what requires immediate action, what can be deferred until a later time, and what can be handed off to someone else. For example, an email from a current customer may be about a quote or a change in coverage. That’s something you may be able to ask someone else to handle – or they can at least run the quote for you to discuss with the requestor at another time.
Don’t let email be your master. Like we mentioned above in Schedule Admin Time, set aside a few times a day to review messages, and avoid constantly checking your email. Once in the morning, at lunch, and at the end of the day should work in most situations.
DON’T CONFUSE BEING BUSY WITH BEING SUCCESSFUL
Most people think if they’re busy all day, then they’ve had a successful day. Unless you’re great at telemarketing, and you’re on the phone closing sales, being busy (or looking busy) is not enough. You need work smarter, not harder. Focus on what will help you increase leads, referrals, and sales. Allocate a portion of your day to calls, networking, and being out of the office.
For more tips on time management, consider this article, Work Smarter, Not Harder: 21 Time-Management Tips to Hack Productivity by Jordan Bates. While it’s a few years old, the article does offer more tips than we can suggest to you here. Stay tuned to this space for more helpful broker tips in the months ahead.