Survive and Thrive

by Marc Beauchamp

   "Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste your time is to waste your life, but to master your time is to master you life and make the most of it."
   - Alan Lakein

   One of the greatest challenges many of the agents that I work with face is not improving their product knowledge or sales skills but managing their time. Proper time management is a key component to realizing success in the merchant services business or, for that matter, any business. We all start the day with a clean slate and an account worth 86,400 seconds; it's what you chose to do with your account that will determine your success or failure.
   Almost 150 years ago Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, conducted a study on income and wealth patterns. He discovered a "predictable imbalance" that shows up in every area of life. This is now known as the Pareto Time Principle, or the 80/20 Rule. The 80/20 rule means that 80% of time spent poorly produces 20% of desired results, while 20% of time spent wisely nets 80% of the desired results.
   Examples of the Pareto principle include:

  • 80% of the sales a salesperson makes come from 20% of their cold calls.
  • 20% of the automobiles on the road cause 80% of the accidents.
  • 20% of the producers create 80% of the production volume.
  • 80% of the useful information on the Internet comes from 20% of the sites.
  • 80% of what makes you happy comes from 20% of the people with whom you are close.

   One of the secrets of success is to stay focused on the 20% of your life that will help you reach your goals and complete your mission. By devoting more time and effort on the 20% that matters, you gain tremendous leverage in your life.
   Every 1% improvement in effectiveness produces five percent more in desired results! That's the power of Pareto's Law.

How much is your time is worth?

   There are roughly 1,952 working hours in a year of 244 working days. This assumes you don't work Saturdays, which I would recommend doing at least once a month.    Review the chart below to see how much your time is worth.

Earning Per Year
Value of an Hour
$30,000 $15.35
$40,000 $20.50
$50,000 $25.60
$60,000 $30.73
$70,000 $35.86
$80,000 $40.98
$90,000 $46.10
$100,000 $51.22

   Those hours that you spend running errands during selling hours now really start to hit home, don't they? Hopefully you now realize the importance of time management.
   If dedicated to being a professional, how efficiently you allocate your assets (your time, your skills, your resources) determines your ability to deliver results to the end customer. In the merchant services industry the most profitable hours are those that you spend in front of a qualified merchant. The successful salesperson has learned how to manage assets around time. Always strive for the maximum ROT (Return on your Time.)
   Another great idea that has worked for many salespeople is to develop a daily routine. Your daily routine might look something like this:

Daily Routine
  • Review your Goals and Mission statement every morning before work.
  • Get started early.
  • Review your daily call list and contact your high percentage prospects first.
  • Review your to-do list for the day and work your way down from the highest priority to the lowest priority.
  • Read or listen to a personal growth or motivational program daily.

   Organize your time around the sales hours - the hours that you can talk to prospects and customers. Perform all non-revenue generating activities before or after sales hours. Ensure you dedicate a certain percentage of sales hours to prospecting for new business. Track your calls and results so you can create a sales formula for success.

Follow Up

   Create templates for your follow up letters and correspondence for easy distribution. Perform your follow up everyday; this is where the money is!

Professional Development

   Continue sharpening your saw as Stephen Covney puts it; attend training at least 4 times per year. Schedule exercise and personal growth during non-sales hours.
   Listen to audiotapes while you're in the car. Create a rolling audio library to enhance your skills.
   Also make sure you utilize a day planner. There are many great time management tools in the marketplace, select something that fits your personal style. If you work on computers get a software-based program like Act, Goldmine, Outlook or Palm. If you still love paper get a Franklin Day Planner.
   Remember, time is a finite resource � use it wisely.