Ask salespeople to list the reasons why they’re struggling and excuses like the economy, price slashing, layoffs and plant closings roll off their lips. Few of them pinpoint the number-one reason for declining sales.
Fewer calls, fewer sales
Why do salespeople make more calls in good times and fewer calls in bad times? The answer starts with negative thinking and ends with procrastination, according to Tony Jeary, president of High Performance Resources, Inc., (Flowers Mound, TX). Share his thoughts with your salespeople.
Two kinds of procrastination:
- Positive procrastination. This is when you legitimately need some time to gather your thoughts and get clear on what you need to do with this prospect or customer. While it may negatively impact the number of calls you make, it may increase the quality.
- Negative procrastination. This is based on flimsy excuses to avoid making calls or not doing something that will affect your sales results negatively.
Controlling negative procrastination
Negative procrastination is a bad habit that greatly restricts results, but it can be controlled. The first step is to identify the reasons behind it, then make the commitment to make calls or start projects in a timely manner.
Here are four causes of negative procrastination:
- “I can do it tomorrow.” This is the most popular justification for procrastination. Waiting just one more day won’t upset too many prospects and customers. Besides, you probably have something else you need to do today. The list could go on forever. There are many reasons why salespeople avoid meeting with prospects. While they’re making excuses, other salespeople are making calls and closing deals.
- “I need to do more research before I call on this prospect.” It’s the most frequent excuse salespeople use to avoid making calls. Even if you don’t have everything you think you need, start anyway. If you have to come up with more information later on, you’ll be much further along with a prospect than if you had waited.
- “I don’t have time right now.” Having a short amount of time is not a valid reason for not doing something. If you have 30 minutes to research a prospect now, then it’s 30 minutes of work you won’t have to do later. If you control or eliminate low-priority activities, you’ll find time to devote to high-priority tasks that positively impact your sales results.
- “I can’t do it perfectly, so I’ll wait.” This excuse doesn’t make much sense if you consider the number of things you can do perfectly. Procrastinators use “research” as an illusion of productivity without actually being productive. Meanwhile, less perfect competitors close accounts.
Production before perfection (PBP)
PBP means you start doing things immediately instead of procrastinating. It allows you to focus on starting instead of finishing, then adjusting as you go. No single skill or habit has a more powerful impact on results than the ability to eliminate procrastination and focus on the high-leverage activities that have the greatest potential for your selling success.