What’s the definition of multi-tasking? It's doing a lot of things at once, and most often, that means doing them poorly. In fact, research proves that multi-tasking is largely a myth; our brains are not wired to focus on multiple things at once. Studies show that multi-tasking ruins productivity, causes mistakes and dampens creative thought.
Yet, many people keep trying, simply because they have too much to do and too little time to do it in. The solution is simple: get your priorities straight and accept the fact that you won’t be able to do everything, because everything can’t be a priority.
Whether you’re in sales or service at a dealership, your CRM can help you manage activities and complete tasks. But it can also overwhelm you if you’re not prioritizing correctly. If you log in every morning and see 100 tasks marked as “high priority,” you know you’ve got a problem.
On the other hand, if your to-do list isn’t long enough you’ve got a problem as well. Most people have a longer list than they can get through. If you can breeze through your daily tasks with time to spare, you don’t have enough to do.
To help prioritize what’s really important, take a step backward and focus on the big picture.
The Pareto principle states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your work. The hard part is determining which 20 percent produces the results you want.
Is your top priority to sell more cars, or is it to take care of customers’ needs? Taking care of your customers will always lead to more sales, but if you’re focusing on the sale you might not be taking care of the customer, giving them a poor experience with your business.
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in; taking care of your customer is always your No. 1 priority, so they don’t give their business elsewhere.
Knowing this, create workflows and processes that focus on taking care of customers, and always flag these items in your CRM as your highest priority. When I have a list of phone calls to make, I always call customers back first.
It might be more difficult to prioritize one customer over another. Are unsold showroom customers a higher priority than sold? Are customer-pay service customers a higher priority than warranty? What may seem obvious on the surface isn’t always; this is where you can use your CRM to run revenue reports that will shed light on who your current and potential VIP customers are.
Yes, ideally you would take care of all customers equally. But it’s more crucial to take care of your loyal and repeat customers, ensuring that they get the red-carpet treatment every visit.
For most people, the second priority is going to be their team. Your co-workers need information, approvals or advice in order to accomplish what they need to do. Almost every workflow in your store involves more than one person, which is why, after customers, your co-workers should be next on your list of tasks or callbacks.
After your customers and co-workers are taken care of, then you can focus on priorities that will create new customers, such as filling your pipeline. If you’re in sales, this may seem counter-intuitive. Shouldn’t you always be prospecting? The reality is, if you prioritize and take care of your current and sold customers, you’ll get more referrals and sales than you would by chasing random leads.
Many productivity experts recommend having your priorities and task list for the next day all set before you go home at night. That way, first thing in the morning you can get to work instead of wasting time figuring out what to do first.
I always recommend “eating the big frog first,” that is, tackling the most difficult and most important priorities first. Get that 20 percent of work that produces 80 percent of results out of the way. For this reason, try to avoid scheduling meetings and phone calls in the morning (unless they are part of the 20 percent).
It’s important to establish priorities up front and verbalize them to staff, so everyone is working on the same page. Trying to prioritize tasks “on the fly” is not a good idea as it’s too easy to be swayed by outside influences. For example, when your boss says he or she needs a report on his desk ASAP, you might be tempted to immediately drop everything to do it, leaving a VIP customer’s need unmet.
Also, revisit your priorities on a regular basis; at least annually if not quarterly. This is because your store’s priorities might change. If you’re trying to increase sales gross, you might decide to focus on CPO; if you want to increase customer-pay ROs, you might concentrate on fine-tuning digital marketing strategies.
There is only so much time in a day, and you will never have more time than you do right now. Everything can’t be a priority, so allocate your time carefully and focus on what gets results.