It’s as simple as spending
your time in the right places.

I give a lot of seminars on business development—how to get in the door with prospects, how to get better outcomes from prospect meetings, how to overcome objections, how

to increase sales with current clients—you get the idea.

Whether I have business owners, VPs of sales, sellers or non-sellers responsible for generating business in the room, everyone has the same problem. They have no time. They say to me, “These ideas are gold. But my schedule is packed; I am swamped. How can I find time to implement what I just learned?”

If this describes you too, here is an exercise you can do to find time in your busy day to devote to business development. I call it the R and N exercise.

Keep a log of how you spend your time for two weeks.

For each activity put an “R” next to any time blocks that are REVENUE‑generating

activities (new business, not business you would have had anyway). Put an “N” next

any NON-REVENUE-generating activities (including generating reports, answering

customer or internal inquiries, filling out paperwork, etc.).

Total the hours per week spent on revenue-generating activities. If it’s two hours

per week or less, it’s not enough. The more time the better, but there is definitely a

threshold where it’s not enough to make a difference.

Identify which non-revenue-generating activities don’t need to be done at all moving

forward and which ones need to be done but can be done by someone else (think

carefully before you decide that you are the only person who can do a non-revenue generating activity). You may need to discuss your list with your manager to get buy-in.

A business owner I know has 10 salespeople. After doing this exercise, he discovered each seller was spending approximately three hours per week answering customer inquiries. The owner was shocked because he had put a system in place whereby the operations people would answer inquiries.

When we discussed it further, the sellers said they answered inquiries themselves because they felt the operations people took too long to get back to the customers. They were protecting their relationships, but using time that could have been devoted to business development. The fix was communication.

First, the two groups discussed the definition of reasonable response time and agreed on what was acceptable. Then, the sellers introduced the operations people to their customers in order to springboard relationships. Finally, the receptionist was trained to direct customer inquiries for existing orders directly to operations and new orders directly to sales.

As a result, the company gained 30 additional hours per week for revenue-generating activities. That is significant and came about as a result of doing the simple R and N exercise. There is a direct correlation between time spent and success as long as you’re doing business development right. If you spend more time you will have more results—it’s that simple.

Caryn Kopp is the Chief Door Opener® at Kopp Consulting. She has helped thousands of business owners and salespeople secure initial meetings with high-level decision makers in almost every major company including P&G, Pfizer, GE, Merck, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, Kraft, Target and CBS. Reach her at