Building Your Self-Management & Organisational Skills

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Red folder in shelfThere is one skill that I see top-quality salespeople exhibiting that often overides everything else. You can be a great communicator, a superb closer and an excellent negotiator, but if this skill is missing, you won’t get many opportunities to display those top skills.

What I’m referring to is the ability to be organised. If you can’t get this right, you won’t be able to build the chances to make sales.

Here are my views on what kind of disorganisation I’ve seen in salespeople recently:

* Overwhelmed with tasks: There’s more to do than you can possibly handle, and you can’t find a way out of the swamp

* Being distracted: You find it difficult to focus and flit from one thing to another. You start one thing but start working on something else before you complete it

* Being a perfectionist: Everything you do just has to be exactly right or you can’t think straight and constantly try to improve things

* Systems hinder instead of help you: Your inability to utilise a proper organisation system causes you to do things slower and with more effort than a seamless process

* Allowing pro-crastination to take over: Things can be done later, so they are. You have no system for identifying specific levels of urgency or importance

* Too involved in minutia: You sometimes lose the big picture by concentrating on the detail. If there isn’t the long-term view of things, you start driving in the fog with no lights on


What can we say that would help in these situations? What can you do to improve your organisation skills? Here are some ideas:

* Plan Effectively: You don’t need me to tell you how to plan. It takes a clear direction, continuous monitoring and creative ideas to lay the foundation for sales. But if you get these right, you build more opportunities to organise yourself effectively. Control the circumstances that come your way rather than letting those situations control you

* Prioritise Diligently: It’s easy to get thrown off course in crises situations or when things aren’t going your way. A quality list helps you get back on track

* Prepare Cautiously: All plans will fall foul to something unexpected; it’s what you do with them that will determine if you get back on your feet quickly again. Your plans have to have an element of flexibility and contingency in them to make them work

* Ask Frequently: Whether you are new or experienced in sales, you will often get caught out not knowing the answer. Organise your research materials in such a way that you can find the answer to any question quickly. You may favour Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines. Your LinkedIn colleagues may know more than you. Your smartphone may have the answer in its files. Suffice to say you don’t need to be the expert these days, with all the knowledge in your head…what you need is the knowledge of where to look

* Know Your Software Confidently: How you use your Outlook or Lotus Notes files will make a big difference in your organisational skills. Your contacts and appointments can be held in your CRM system, but remember it’s your own organisation skills using your own systems that will make the real difference

* Procrastinate Purposely: If you are going to put things off, do it for the right reasons and not just because you don’t want it right now. Stay in charge of the tasks you need to accomplish, and stop making excuses for what are essentially poor work habits


By building an organised work schedule and an attitude that supports it, you create the foundation for so many advancements in your sales career. No matter what skills you develop, being organised will help you make the most of them. Become the organised salesperson you know you can be, and you’ll reap the long-term.

Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 6 February, 2013

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