When Urgency Gets In The Way Of What’s Important

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It happens to every one of us, a dozen times every day: We’re working on that important quote that has to go out today when we’re interrupted by the phone ringing. So, what do we do? Nine times out of ten, we answer the phone.

Why do we do that? Whatever the phone call is about, it’s probably not as important as what we’re working on. In fact, chances are it’s a robocall about our auto warranty expiring…

But we stop what we’re doing and answer it anyway because the phone rings with urgency and it’s nearly impossible to ignore.

As salespeople, those urgent but less important things can rob us of more than just our time. Statistics show that nearly 65% of a salesperson’s day is spent on non-revenue-generating activities — answering questions from unqualified leads; keeping up with customer’s changes and selections; following up with unresponsive prospects, etc. So, if we’re dealing with the urgent instead of important (i.e. communicating with buyers; getting the details needed to submit an order; working out financing; etc.), then we don’t have time to invest in the important stuff, the things actually generate income. When that happens, the urgent is robbing our wallets; it’s costing us money!

Example: Following up with that couple that came in last week and toured your model. Is that urgent… or important? If you have an appointment, it is both urgent and important that you keep your promise and appointment. But, what if you don’t have an appointment; they aren’t expecting your call? You could say that it isn’t really urgent. But is it any less important? No, following up is still a high priority; it is still a vital part of the sales process.

Imagine what you or your team could accomplish if you had back that five hours per day to become more productive… and how that would affect your bottom line.

How to keep Urgent from Stomping on Important

Step 1: Be aware that urgent is not always important.
Just because a phone rings, that doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Realizing that fact frees you from being a slave to the phone ring and lets you focus on what’s important. So, when you have important tasks to accomplish, turn off the ringer and avoid other distractions; you’ll get more done.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Step 2: Schedule Important Tasks First.
The 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, is credited with developing what is often referred to as the Eisenhower Matrix (see illustration). It is a way of looking at everything we are confronted with and placing it in the right ‘box’ according to urgency and importance. Using this, we can take each item that is competing for our time and attention and put it where it needs to be. Notice that some things don’t deserve any attention at all; others can be delegated. How much time can this one matrix save you every day?

Step 3: Touch it once.
Do you know that stack of papers on your desk? Yeah, that one, where some of them have been there for weeks? Why are they still there? Each one needs to go into the Eisenhower Matrix, too. Steven Covey’s rule was to touch it once. If it’s important and urgent, deal with it immediately. If it can be delegated, do so.

It has been argued that your time is your greatest asset. Learning to deal appropriately with urgency can free up time to deal with the important stuff. MhCRM can help. It’s the contact management, time management, and income management program designed by industry insiders for MH professionals. MhCRM will help you streamline your sales process, keep track of every customer contact, and help you make sure the really important stuff always gets done.

Scott Stroud

Scott Stroud

Scott Stroud is CRM Program Director for MhCRM, the only automated CRM for the MH industry. Scott is the co-author of Managing Your Business With 7 Key Numbers, available at BuilderBooks.com, and The Complete Guide to Marketing and Selling New Homes. Scott is a regular speaker at MH national and state events and a key contributor to LearnMH.com. He can be reached at scott@mhcrm.com or at (606) 416-2078.
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