Sales can be a hectic business. This time management tip will help you regain control of your time and improve your sales. Your sales funnel is a commonly used phrase to indicate the stage people are in the selling or buying process. With so many people entering and leaving your sales funnel during any given time frame it’s easy to lose track of exactly where the different people you’re working with are in the process. The result is lost prospects or longer than necessary sales cycle times.

In a perfect world you’d like people to enter your sales funnel and exit your sales funnel as a customer in one step. If that were typical you wouldn’t need this time management tip. But in reality few people have such a short sales cycle. Most people have a multi-step sales cycle with varying time gaps. When this is the case you have to take control of the sales funnel by proactively moving your prospects through the sales process.

All sales people know this yet many people haven’t taken the time to clearly define the steps or options in their sales cycle. If you don’t know the next step for advancing a prospect you can’t expect them to, and that’s when you get exactly what you don’t want. You get asked to contact them again in X months. Yuck, now you have the additional work of tracking this so-so prospect for another time span. You can prevent this from happening by mapping out your sales cycle with the options for advancing the sale and the required time frame between next steps.

You need to know where every prospect is at any given point in time. Trying to track this information in your day planner isn’t a good use of your time. That results in having to guess the day you last interacted and flipping through your calendar trying to see if you posted any comments worth reviewing. The better way is to develop one tracking sheet where you record: prospect name and contact information including their preferred method for contact, the stage in the sales process they’re in, notes about your last contact, and next action.

You need to know the results of each action and the next step quickly and at a glance. Having all this information in various folders, calendar, phone comment logs etc. isn’t time efficient. You need to have it all in one reference document and you need all the current information at your finger tips. You need to know the number of people you need in some stage of your sales cycle at all times to generate the results you want. When you track it all on one sheet as soon as you close one sale you know you have to get another prospect to replace the one that just left as a customer.

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