sales skills

How The Pomodoro Technique Will Help Boost Your Sales

The Pomodoro Technique.

You’re a salesperson, so … what the heck is the Pomodoro Technique, and why do you even want to know what it is? Okay, be a little patient with me, because you know I’m not into wasting your time. Trust me it’s good, and it will help you so much with your time management.

One of the biggest challenges I hear from my listeners every week is “How do I get in front of more people?”

The Pomodoro Theory

is actually a very old technique that many people have used to increase their productivity – in your case, setting more appointments. And people that set goals and activities actively monitor them are 30% more productive than those that don’t.

Francisco Cirillo developed this technique in the late 1800’s to help people work smarter, not harder. I have found it helps you to focus on the task you want to do and complete it in a less stressful way.

Over time, I have definitely adapted this technique, and I’ve changed it to fit my needs. In fact, I even teach people my adopted techniques. 

The Pomodoro Technique
How to use the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time

It works really well for me, but what would happen if I went back to the raw, unedited version of the Pomodoro Technique?

So, I did a little sales science experiment, and I’ll share the results with you later in the article. I also call this time or task batching. 

The basics of the Pomodoro Technique go like this: 

1. pick a task 

2. set a timer for 25-minutes 

3. work until the timer goes off 

4. take a five-minute break and do something not work-related 

5. repeat for up to five Pomodoro sessions.

Simple, right? You can buy a cute little Pomodoro Timer, but I have just found my cell phone alarm works just fine. There are also apps to help you plan and track your Pomodoro’s. But please don’t get so caught up in the apps that you don’t get around to doing the work! Keep it simple.

First, pick your task. 

As a salesperson, I love to use this test for prospecting. Find your objective and set a goal for what you want to accomplish. For example, mine is to set three appointments a day. Then run through steps 2 through 4. 

Step four is very important, take a five-minute break, so don’t skip that!

Stand up, stretch, get another cup of coffee! Just don’t become so distracted that you don’t start your next Pomodoro. And please don’t stretch those breaks longer than 5 minutes.

The benefits to you are:

It splits up your work day into manageable and emotionally pleasing periods.

It helps you break down your to-do list into important tasks and define your goals and objectives.

It cuts down on interruptions and distractions. Put a sign out, “Do not disturb” if you need to.  You may even start a trend in your office.

It helps you to plan your day better, without trying to avoid unpleasant or difficult tasks, which relieves stress. You may even find yourself looking forward to enjoying these short, planned bursts of activities and time.

It creates a sense of urgency to complete the tasks we like to put off. Instead of thinking, “I’ll get this done by the end of the day”. 

And we all know how that goes! 5:00 rolls around, and you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything, or is that just me?

It helps avoid overwhelm by breaking tasks up into something manageable and measurable.

It helps build up your confidence level as you begin to see quick, measurable results.

I think you will soon count these Pomodoro times as sacred,

meaning you own them and nothing will get in your way of taking this time for yourself.

Try it for a week, and let me know what you think. Push through, even though it may feel awkward at first. 

This does go against everything a lot of us have learned, and practice, about staying in one place and pounding away for hours until we are done, and usually burnt out.

If you find you have a day that is busy with meetings and appointments, you may have to fit these 25-minute productivity bursts in throughout the day. 

That’s the beauty of this, and why it works so well for prospecting. Because you can plan to fit them in, sit down, set your timer, open your sales CRM or  prospecting list, and prospect for 25 minutes.

Eventually, you will have enough data to see how many appointments you average setting during each Pomodoro. And how many Pomodoro’s you need to set to get the amount of appointments you want.

Again, my goal is to set three appointments a day, and I average one appointment for each Pomodoro. So I need to plan 3 Pomodoro sessions during my day to accomplish my goal.

The Pomodoro Technique

I promised you I’d share my results,

and I hope you will come back after you try this and share your results in the comments below.

The key is, yes, you have to do the work. I know, but you won’t see results if you don’t take a new idea, or technique and try it.

Commit to becoming better and selling more.

Really commit – otherwise it’s just another good idea.

So, I usually do my Pomodoro’s for 1 hour but I have gone back to the 25-minute program for the purpose of this article. To see how I would do with the original, unedited Pomodoro Technique. And I found I enjoyed it more! 

I was able to see that my average is one appointment every 25 minutes. I knew it was two appointments every hour but sometimes it’s hard for me to find an uninterrupted hour to prospect. It was certainly easier for me to find 25 minutes!

The second thing I found is that it kept me “fresher”. I found myself smiling more when I spoke. Prospects can “hear” your smile over the phone. I was asking better quality questions, and I was less stressed and generally happier.

 Two good results so far.

The third thing I found was, I really had to work at going back and completing enough Pomodoro’s to reach my goal.  Because you know what happens once you stop one activity…your attention is drawn five different ways, and it can be hard to get back on task.  So be strong and stay focused.

Lastly, I have found I am reaching my goals of setting appointments during the business day, and leaving many days closer to 5:00! now that I didn’t expect, but I’ll take it!

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How To Use The 80-20 Rule In Your Sales Strategy

The 80 – 20 Rule and Your Sales Strategy

I found some interesting statistics from about how salespeople spend their time, from getmoredone.com. While I wasn’t surprised by this, I was disappointed to find that we as salespeople actually spend so little time selling because of all the other time-suckers we get caught up in.

How Salespeople Spend Their Time
How Salespeople Spend Their Time

Please allow me summarize for you what they said, and explain how it relates to your sales strategy and sales growth.

As salespeople, we spend 13% of our time on traveling and training. 22% of our time on meetings and admin. 22% on post sales tasks and account management. 10% for planning. And 22% of actual selling time – either face-to-face / over the phone / or virtually on the web.

Where do you fit in with those percentages and that 80-20 rule sales strategy? 

What this means for you is that sales can be predictable.

When you use the 80/20 rule sales strategy, and use the percentages that are accurate for many other salespeople- then you can apply them to your own sales AND accurately predict you sales.

I would even dare to say, if you are not spending at least 22% of your time actually selling, you need to do a little bit of self-evaluation and find out why.

And what are those other things that we are spending 78% of our time on? 

If you are struggling to consistently reach your sales goals, and you are not spending the time on prospecting and selling to be within these percentages and guidelines of the 80-20 rule sales strategy, … you have just identified the main the problem!

Keep reading to learn the solution, and how to be more intentional in with your time and in your selling.

I call it the 80 – 20 rule sales strategy.

In sales, you spend 80% of your time to get 20% of your results.

In other words, you should be spending 80% of your time doing those things that will get you to selling and closing your sales.

Another part of this is the Pareto Principle. I think we have all heard this one before, I just didn’t know it had an “official name”! 

The 80-20 Sales Strategy
The 80 – 20 Sales Strategy

The Pareto Principle

is named after the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. In the late 1800’s, he discovered that, in Italy, 80% of the wealth was owned by 20% of the people.

The Pareto effect, simply said, according to Wikipedia, is roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes.

This confirms the info I gave you earlier on about how sales people spend their time. 22% of our time is spent on selling.

So what if you could think of a way to decrease some of your other activities? Do you think if you spent 30% of your time on selling, your sales would increase? I bet they would. Show that to your boss! Maybe they will cut back on the sales meetings a bit.

Or, if you’re an entrepreneur, what if you could delegate some tasks and focus more on the selling part? After all, you are the company, and what people are buying. Just some food for thought.

In sales, there are so many examples of the Pareto Principle and the 80-20 Sales Strategy.

 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Now if this is true for you, be careful. If you  lose a customer, it could be catastrophic!

80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers.

 If you are a sales manager,80% of your business is written by 20% of your sales people.

You can also think about other areas in your life this principle may apply to. Unfortunately, there are things we do not have control of. Like how many sales meetings we have to attend.

What if you became more focused on what you do have control over?

Like the quality of the leads that you actually set up a meeting with, and the things you can do during the day that you know will get you better results? Focusing on what really matters.

While we may not be able to get our work week down to four days a week, or six hours a day, what can you do to be more efficient with your time? Can you batch activities to be more productive and make the most out of that 22% of that time we get, on average, to sell? How can we dedicate more time to find and grow new customers?

Identifying those activities that directly have an impact on your sales.

For example, look carefully at what is on your to-do list today. We all have them, so … What is the one thing on that list that if you did it, it would bring you the greatest results? Is there a proposal you need to get out, an appointment you need to make that you know will lead to a sale?

Let’s say there are 10 things on your list. Take the two you feel would bring you the biggest results for your sales and return of investment on your time. and complete them today – no excuses

 Again, 20%, or two out of 10, of your tasks, will bring you the greatest results. The 80-20 rule sales strategy.

You can even apply it to the interruptions during your day. What or who composes the interruptions that end stop distracting you? Is it one person or situation that keeps happening?

The key here is,

Once you identify the 20% things, your biggest customers, your most profitable tasks, your biggest Interruption causes, then you can take control and use them to your advantage. 

So many of us don’t take the time to evaluate our businesses and what we can do to improve it, but eventually our business runs us, and we wonder why there is not enough time to do all that we need to do and be profitable and grow.

This week, take some time to evaluate the 80/20 and how it applies to your sales strategy. If you need a place to start, focus on the three main things I focus on today.

 1. your top customers

2. your most profitable tasks

3. your biggest interrupters

 and identify what they are. 

Leave a message in the comments below if you have any questions or you’re having trouble identifying the time suckers, and we’ll see what we can do to help you become more productive. 

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The Top Ten Sales Skills Every Salesperson Should Know

The Top Ten Things That Every Salesperson Should Know
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The Top Sales Skills Every Salesperson Should Know, IMO

I’ve never done a top 10 list of sales skills before, so I thought it might be kind of interesting to put a list together for you. I actually came up with 25 of the top sales skills that every salesperson should know, IMO.

You can write down your list of the top 10 things that you think every salesperson should know, compare it with mine, and let me know in the comments below if you feel I missed any!

I’ve also included a link to each of the Sales Made Simple Podcast episodes that go with the skill, if you would like to learn more about each skill.

To get the complete list of the twenty-five sales skills every salesperson needs to know, IMO, please go to the form at the bottom of the blog and request your top 25 checklist.

Is knowing these top sales skills important?

It is, because if you can master these skills, you will succeed in a long-term sales career.

1. Be adaptable.

And able to improvise and be flexible. As salespeople, our schedules and situations can change very quickly, and we need to be able to adapt. Whether it’s a client that decides they need to see you today, or a sales presentation that you thought would be an easy sale that turns into something a bit more complicated, or objections that you just weren’t prepared for.

This is where the improvisation comes in – being able to quickly pivot to provide an answer for a question you weren’t expecting. The better you are at this, and the more flexible you will be, and the better you will be able to adapt to meet your prospect’s needs. Episode 57.

2. Know how to manage your time.

How long do you need to allow between appointments? How many appointments can you run in a day? Do you have prospecting time scheduled every day, and how much time do you need to prospect to keep your pipeline? Episode 47.

3. Understand active listening.

The art of really listening to someone to understand them better. I’m also going to add in knowing the right questions to ask a prospect to make sure that what you were listening to will ultimately help you to help your prospects to make a buying decision. Episode 20.

4. Understand how to control your attitude, enthusiasm, and empathy.

No one wants to meet with a grumpy salesperson that is unhappy, in a bad mood, not interested in what they are offering, and uncaring about the prospect.

Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Be the person that you would want to meet with if the situation were flipped, and you were the buyer instead of the seller. Empathy goes a long way to help you serve your prospect in the best way possible. Episode 28.

5. Know how to ask for help.

It could be because you don’t know an answer to one of your prospects’ questions. Maybe you just can’t create the personal connection that you need to form. Or maybe your prospect just needs a nudge from someone else to say “That’s the best decision!”

It’s okay to call in a co-worker or on occasion, or even your manager. Lose your ego and gain the sale. Episode 66.

6. Understand sales psychology.

Like why someone will buy what they buy, body language, and buying signals. Learn how to engage your prospects, and discover what they are really saying to you with their nonverbal communication. Episode 19.

7. Possess great verbal communication skills.

This includes phone skills, which are super important to a salesperson.

Be clear when you speak, be focused on your words, and guide your prospects through the buying cycle. Find out where they are, what they know, and clearly help them. If you are jumbled, confusing and jumping randomly from one topic to another, you will confuse your prospects, and a confused prospect doesn’t buy. Episode 33. 

8. Be prepared.

Have you done the research about your prospects before you meet or call? Do you understand the technology you need to write and a proposal or contract? Do you have all the tools you need organized before your presentation? Episode 9.

9. Be able to establish trust and be the authority.

Don’t leave your prospect guessing what they do need to do next, and don’t let your prospect lead without what they came in for – to speak with an authority that will help them achieve their goals today. Episode 68.

10. Be honest with your prospects.

Do you sometimes make up things and tell prospects that you can do something that you may not be able to do?

For example, sometimes my clients may come to me with an unrealistic time frame for what they want. Sure, I could lie, say ,”No problem”, get the sale, and deal with their anger and disappointment when what they want doesn’t come in on time, but I choose to let them know right up front the correct time frame.

And I’ll say, “Hey, I can lie to you now, and have you angry later, or I can tell you the truth now, so at least you will know what to really expect”. They may be disappointed, but they appreciate my honesty.

I don’t think I have an episode on honesty – that’s something you can’t teach, it’s just the choice you need to make, and hopefully a theme that you will see throughout this blog series.

When I put this together, I actually came up with 25 sales skills that every salesperson should know to be successful. If you would like the checklist of the 25 things, you can get it below.

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