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Unapplied Time - In the sales department?

Sales department? Isn't unapplied time a measurement of service department productivity? Who ever heard of unapplied time in the sales department? Maybe those of us in the sales departments can learn a few lessons from how the service shop operates.

In the service department we measure and track each technician's time down to one tenth of an hour. The information on the number of minutes of down-time or floor sweeping time that is not chargeable to a job is recorded and monitored. Service managers are highly focused on reducing this unapplied time - it is seen as wasted opportunity. Why is such close attention given to technician productivity? Simple. When they are working on a vehicle they are making themselves and the department money - just being in the building doesn't count!

So what about the sales departments? Does "being in the building" really count for anything here? Most commission salespeople get paid when a vehicle is sold. We can therefore fall into the trap of viewing our work as only that time when we are face to face with a prospect. Let's look at some simple math on a sales person who sells 8 units in a month and saw 40 prospects. If the average time spent per prospect is 0.8 hour (some were 2 hours and some were 2 minutes!) then the amount of working time face to face with clients in a month is only 32 hours. Say those 8 deals paid an average of $400 commission. Then earnings are $416 per hour talking to buyers. Of course we don't know which prospects will end up being buyers so the figure of $100 per hour talking to all prospects is more relevant. Not bad dough!

The problem lies in all of the unapplied time we have when we are truly just "in the building". How do we spend that time? Using the math above it amounts to 128 hours a month! Sure we are expected to help out with lot maintenance and odd jobs that the sales manager gives us but what about all of the other time? Look at it this way. You get paid to talk to people. Whether they end up being a buyer or not, when you are talking to a prospect you're making $100 per hour. You should be thinking: "how can I increase the number of prospects that I'm talking to per month?"

Use some of that unapplied time. Develop a better daily work plan that increases your productive face time with prospects. Don't wait for the dealership to generate a walk-in for you. Set a personal goal of creating 1 new prospect per day for yourself - it's worth $100 per day! Set a daily work plan for outgoing phone calls. Develop a personal marketing plan that targets specific interest groups or businesses. Have a set process to follow-up your existing client base for repeat and referral opportunities.

Look, we aren't telling you anything you didn't already know. The question is what do you like better: $100 an hour or $0 an hour? The choice is yours.