Insurance agents and advisors are often terrible at time management.
I speak from personal experience — I’m easily distracted. Time is money, yet have you ever met an advisor who hasn’t complained about not having enough time or sales support?
We need a “10 commandments of time management” to keep us focused.
I. Thou Shalt Have a Plan for Each Day
You write a plan before you leave the office the preceding day, when everything is fresh in your mind. It should have several measurable goals including calls made, LinkedIn Messages sent, appointments scheduled and sales made. Keep score.
II. Thou Shalt Not Put Off the Difficult Tasks.
Prospecting is rarely everyone’s favorite activity. Get it out of the way first, when you are fresh and energetic. If you are having an issue with a difficult client, make that call first thing in the morning. The person you are calling is also starting a new day. They should be in a good mood.
III. Thou Shalt Remember to Prospect Every Day.
It’s easy to set aside the “important” tasks for the “immediate” ones. Someone stops at your desk saying “This paperwork must be completed immediately.” What if you were out that day? It would wait. Prospecting is important. It fills the pipeline, it gets your name out there.
IV. Thou Shalt Honor the Time-Blocking Concept
It’s so easy to get distracted. You plan to prospect two hours in the morning, then the phone rings. It’s a client with a service question. A friend calls. Suddenly the two hours is gone. If you prospect by calling businesses swap desks with a colleague or go to a conference room and shut the door. Focus on the task at hand.
V. Thou Shalt Not Kill Time by Surfing the Internet
It’s been said that the average smartphone user checks their phone about 120 times a day. We spend time on Facebook, we check for travel deals, we trawl through Ebay. We check email constantly. Try pretending email is similar to surface mail, which is delivered once a day. Try limiting yourself to only checking email once or twice a day.
VI. Thou Shalt Not Squander Small Blocks of Time.
Someone is meeting you at the office for lunch, but they arrive 10 minutes late. You’ve been waiting, doing nothing. Have a group of small projects you can knock out (writing a letter or email) or work on a little bit at a time (organizing and updating the slides for a presentation). You’ve made good use of that extra time.
VII. Thou Shalt Not Allow Friends in the Office to Steal Time from You.
Ever have another agent drop into your office, grab a seat and start talking about their weekend? It’s as if they are saying: “I don’t feel like working, so I’m going to talk with you instead. I’ll just interrupt your work flow.” They are stealing time. If you sit in an open plan office , start by removing the visitor chair. If you have an enclosed office, pile papers on the seats. If they ask: “Can I move these?” explain you are busy right now, but can talk after 4 p.m.
VIII. Thou Shalt Keep Track of Time Spent on the Phone.
Ever have a client who calls just because they like to talk? Do you know someone who can’t get to the point? If your phone has a timer, keep an eye on it. If not, the three-minute egg time with sand running through it works well. You need a strategy to get off the phone. When I was done, I would say: “Gotta hop!” One of my clients complimented me: “You call. You make your point. You get off the phone.”
IX. Thou Shalt Do Paperwork After Hours.
During the day, you can get clients and prospects on the phone. In the early morning or early evening, it’s difficult to get people because they are having their morning coffee or commuting. That is the time to catch up on paperwork and enter data into the computer.
X. Thou Shalt Delegate.
Which jobs can be done by you and only you? Making sales presentations and selling product is an example. Paperwork can be done by someone else. Research too. You are a professional. You should focus your time on activities providing the greatest return in business revenue, new clients or client retention.