It dawned on Bob that for the past week or so, his fellow salesperson, Janet, had barely mumbled hello before disappearing into the office or leaving for appointments. Wonder if it’s something I said. She had even left the office early a couple times that week. We used to close down the office at night, he thought.
Bob knew the way you made it in sales was by putting in the time. No one else in the office even came close to putting in the hours they did. With all the things that needed to be done, or the emergencies that always popped up, there was no way to just work an eight hour day. But what was happening to Janet, he wondered. Had she lost the edge?
The next morning, Bob showed up two hours early to catch up with Janet. He did.
“Yo, Janet,” he called, getting out of his car, just as she was getting into hers. Where’s she going, he thought to himself. It’s like six in the morning.
“Hi, Bob,” she responded, “guess we haven’t gotten together much in the past week.”
With a big smile, Bob said, “Janet, I want you to know I’ve changed my mouthwash; you don’t have to tell me . . . I figured it out myself.”
She laughed. “That’s not why. Ever since the sales meeting two weeks ago
. . . it just clicked in my head.”
“What’s that? Half the time I’m lucky enough if I don’t snore.”
“You only snored once . . . the thing about working toward daily goals and letting the clock take care of itself. So that’s what I did. I’ve got a couple of daily goals that I work at each day until they are completed.” Then in a surprised voice she added, “It’s working, too!”
“Come on, Janet, it’s Bob. I’m not management.”
“You know how I hated to ask for referrals? One of my daily goals is calling my customers until I get one referral. It works. I’ve gotten four appointments!
I don’t run with the clock, I run with my goals.”
“And I’m left taking care of all the important stuff.”
“Sure,” responded Janet, “like the whole day we spent tracking down the guy who could fix the copier?”
“Well, someone has to take care of business.”
Janet finally sees that how you spend your time is more important than how much time you spend.
There are a couple of commonly accepted sales tales handed down from one salesperson to another. It’s almost like a tribal mythology.
One of the more enduring is how you have to spend much more than 40 hours a week if you want to make it in sales. Then the tale goes on to relate how Bill, or Mary, or whoever, spent a tremendous number of hours a week and by age thirty, was pulling down an income in the high six figures. Now remember these “tales” may actually be true.
The unfortunate message that most salespeople hear from these tales is that a tremendous number of hours spent means a tremendous income at some point in the future. So they decide that they, too, are going to spend the long hours.
But then the question becomes doing what? There are more day-to-day things to do then there is time to do them. If you have any doubt, anyone who owns a home knows that you could spend the rest of your life working on the home and never finish all that needs to be done.
Thus many salespeople, willing to put in the hours, get caught up in trying to do all the things that just seem to pop up every day. After a few weeks or months of this, still not seeing any substantial income improvement, they tire of the 18-hour days. Who wouldn’t?
Here’s their problem. They worked very hard to deal with the things that popped up instead of working on reaching their goals. If they were working on their goals, many of the things that pop up would be relegated to someone else’s “to-do” list of chores.
What you choose to do with your time is truly up to you. Why not spend that time working toward your goals?
There is no substitute for an individual salesperson’s goals. While a monetary goal is good, there also have to be goals that lead to the monetary goal.
Setting specific goals for yourself and working toward them on a daily basis is, at first, difficult. You will be sorely tempted to skip a day or so and go back to your old ways. Others, who are still reacting to pop-ups, will do their best to get you back to the way you were.
If you give in, you are only denying yourself additional income. You cannot go back and redo a day. Once you waste it on pop-ups, it is gone forever.
Always build into your goals a periodic, at least once every two months, review. On that day, you spend the entire day reviewing your progress and making goal adjustments as needed.
Either way, you are going to spend the time. The only question is how. Which one makes you money?
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