As the debate about whether “Relationship Selling” is dead or not rages on, there are some things you can do as a seller to protect and stretch your selling time and results now, regardless of which way the coin lands.
We are a social creature, just witness the growth in social media and its impact on selling. Relationships are laced with social rituals, customs, and expectations. Some expectations and social norms, asking someone how they are when you first get on the phone, asking them about their plans for the long weekend, summer holidays, you get the picture. Others are self imposed. But the one thing they all have in common is that they consume time.
I have dealt with time in a number of ways, because after all it is your most valuable resources, and as such you need to be cautious as to how you spend it, because you can only use it once. And while everyone can talk about the big time wasters, how to mitigate them, you can often do small things on the fringe to get ahead. Five minutes here, five minutes there, and if you claw those back you can gain an hour of selling time by the end of the week.
The challenges is that some social norms or conventions that are present in selling, and consume time unnecessarily. People do them without thinking, and in the process “spend” (think of time as a currency), more than the value they gain from their spend. So here are a couple of small things that you can do, that add up, but may at first seem socially uncomfortable.
You know when you are talking to a client, good client, always telling you what’s going on in their company, ribs you every Monday about the outcome of football game, always so pleasant, never fails to ask about the kids; you have a great relationship. You promised them that you would have an answer to their question by morning, simple thing, the dimensions and density of the new part, and expected delivery date. You got the data as you are supposed to, you call, and it unfolds in the usual way:
You: Hi, how you doing?
Client: Great, we’ve been so busy, and you know George is finally back, and blah blah blah… (90 seconds)
You: I know exactly what you mean I remember blah blah blah… (35 seconds)
Client: Especially when blah blah blah… (35 seconds)
You: Anyways, I have that info for you … (60 seconds)
Client: That’s great, listen Hun, you be good, what are you up to this weekend, I am thinking of seeing that new movie…. blah blah blah… (60 seconds)
You: Ya, I heard that too…blah blah (35 seconds)… well have a good one
Five minutes to transmit two bits of data! I could have done it in a 15 second voice mail, with all the social wrapping.
Rather than calling during prime time, what we call face time in sales, I could have called at 6:40, pulling in to my driveway, leaving a voice mail with the same data, and they would have had it as promised by morning. Small change, lived up to my commitment, same friendly social “hey we have a relationship” voice, everything good, and I have saved five minute. Time’s money – how much did I just save? Well if I invest in prospecting, and score a prospect, tons!
This leads us to the second change in habit I will encourage you to adopt. Stay away from promising to have things to them “by the end of the day!” Most of the time, you do literally that at the end of the day, and they don’t deal with it before morning. Instead, promise this:
“It’ll be in your inbox when you come in the morning.”
This takes the pressure of you do have everything done by 5:00, and regain control of your time by allocating the right time t the right activity. If it is there when you promised, when they open their inbox, than you are still a pro, lived up to your commitment, the client doesn’t care if you sent that e-mail at 6:00 pm or 10:30 pm, it is there when they expected! And you just got an uptick on your ROT investment.
What’s in Your Pipeline?