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Read It and Reap

A good many years ago, entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn popularized a Zig Ziggler saying that some might find offensive today, as no doubt some did decades ago: “Poor people have big TVs; rich people have big libraries.”

Entertainment is a private sort of decision, of course, and this isn’t really about televisions; well, not entirely. I think you understand the intent behind the quote – people who make a habit of reading and studying to learn more about their business, career field, public policy, economics, etc., are obvious candidates for a higher probability of financial success. I agree with those who assert this is especially true in the sales profession.

We tend to print a fair amount of sales-related content at Industrial Supply, including our newly-minted regular column, Wired for Sales, with distribution sales consultant Frank Hurtte. In my line of work, I come across quite a lot of sales advice – as a matter of fact, after many years’ editing sales articles and hiring sales speakers, I’ve had enough “training” to sniff out the worthwhile from the B.S.

Besides the usual go-to experts whose material we frequently publish, one guy I think has merit for sales professionals is Jeff Gitomer. I just finished reading one of his blogs on time management for salespeople, and he’s pretty emphatic about the importance of reading.

Yeah, that’s a time management thing!

Gitomer’s big idea in the article is for salespeople to arrange all their sales time to orbit around getting people to say “yes.” Toward that end, they should harness passive time by reading to increase the effectiveness of their active sales. And what should they read about? He is direct: (1) The industry, market, and customers who say yes to you. (2) Sales – learning about how to get to yes. (3) About yourself and your attitude – thinking yes.

Some of Gitomer’s additional suggestions should already be common practice, yet might merit a refresher at the next sales manager’s weekly meeting: things like managing paperwork and email efficiently, utilizing technology and devices well, and eliminating personal calls during work hours.

Some worthy time management pointers that may or may not be on your front burner include:

  • Schedule sales meetings at meals, especially breakfast.
  • Limit yourself to a scheduled one-hour daily segment for miscellaneous crap or cleanup tasks. (Chaos minus one is his code.)
  • Do business (make sales and contacts) before and after regular “business” hours.
  • Stay out of other peoples’ business. (Shouldn’t we all!)
  • Stop complaining or telling others your complaints.
  • Turn off the TV at home. It’s pretty much a waste of time.
  • And the most important use of time to balance the game of business: Spend time and have fun with your family and friends.

Good luck out there putting time on your side. And thanks for reading!

Kim Phelan

Kim Phelan

Kim Phelan

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of 
Industrial Supply magazine. Copyright, 2024 Direct Business Media.