We all begin each week with 168 hours; however, some are getting much more out of their 168. Identify the High Payoff Activities (HPAs) and book firm appointments for each. Stay focused and watch greater success materialize. 1. HELP! Looking for anything to assist me with better time management as a salesperson. Okay, I want you to think of a doctor and how they manage their business, their day. Very often, even with an appointment, we find ourselves in the waiting room. While this is frustrating, for the doctor, it’s about maximizing their time and rev- enue. Imagine having a day calendar packed like that; no, don’t imagine it, do it. What I’m getting at is instead of the traditional “to-do” list where we get some of the items done, try plan- ning your day of things “to do” with a daily calendar with set appointments for each item to get done. We all be- gin each week with 168 hours; howev- er, some are getting much more out of their 168. Identify the High Payoff Activities (HPAs) and book firm ap- pointments for each. Stay focused and watch greater success materialize. 2. When is the right time for me to invest in an assistant? Quick story: at 12 years old, I took over a paper route with 32 customers. A year later it was 275, leav- ing me no room to sell and doing a job of delivery which I didn’t enjoy. I hired five assistants (younger kids) to deliver my papers, freeing me up for more sell- ing time. Moral of the story: whenever we can get “non-HPAs” off our plate at a lesser price than what we can earn by added focus on the HPAs, hire that assistant! 3. I sell a product that’s generic and can be termed a commodity. As such, I find myself regularly dealing with price as the hurdle. Thoughts? You bet! First order of business is read Jaynie Smith’s book Creating Competitive Advantage, which has real examples of differenti- ating what appears to be a commodity. Price objections tend to come from ei- ther a lack of trust or a lack of perceived value. Build trust by caring more about the pains and pleasures of your pros- pect/customer. Tips on perceived val- ue can be gleaned from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. That should do it. 4. How much should the CEO be involved in sales? First off, avoid the first of the three sins of Sales Management and don’t be both CEO and Sales Manager because, by definition, you have decided to grow your business part time. Next, I don’t encourage my CEOs to sell, but I do encourage them to be out there in the field. Jim Koch (Sam Adams beer) is known for his two-days-a-week out with his sales professionals. The ROI transcends sales and can be beneficial through- out the business. 5. I know your belief in a compensation model of 100 percent commission for salespeople. Our industry makes that impossible. Have any thoughts? Sure do. If you believe something can’t be done, you will be right. If, on the other hand, you said “We won’t do it any other way,” then solutions will begin to sur- face. Watch the movie 127 Hours, where a hiker gets stuck between two boul- ders and realizes his only shot at life is to cut his own arm off. At first consid- eration, it seems impossible. However, if viewed as the only way, the solution is doable. I’ve worked with many of my CEO Coach clients in overcoming this mind-set and challenge. 6. You talked about the “Swim Coach” concept in the previous GET JACK’D magazine. I’m still struggling; can you help? Well, that was broad enough! Assuming you’ve taken a legitimate 5 shot at what was suggested in the ar- ticle from the previous magazine issue, let’s try this. Reverse the concept and try to identify where you might be a sol- id “Swim Coach” for other folks. Begin to explore such relationships and, once up and running, go for the law of reciproc- ity (if the person you “coached” cannot directly help you, perhaps they can re- fer others to you who can). 7. We are loving the concept (and now our reality) of a Sales Playbook. Here’s the question: How rigid should we be to the scripts? I’m less about the rigidity and more about the foundational an- swers. Practicing the scripts with some rigidity, however, will make us more knowledgeable in the area and raise our confidence to such a level of pro- fessionalism that the words we string together will come naturally. 8. How long do you believe it takes to identify if a new sales hire is going to “make it”? Most people will take issue with my answer, but I believe we can know in most cases within the first week of employment. It’s about behav- iors and attitudes more than technical skills and knowledge. My experience is that those attributes shine brightly early. 9. What’s a manageable span of control for a Sales Manager? While there are many variables involved—such as type of business, geographics, and methods of accessing the desired markets—my rule of thumb is 12–15 sales people per Sales Manager. Refer to the book The Sales Playbook for Hyper Sales Growth (self-serving plug), where my coauthor Dan Larson and I list the many tasks of a typical, high-performing Sales Manager and the time necessary to accomplish those tasks.