By Tibor Shanto – firstname.lastname@example.org
The pressure of time, or more specifically, a lack of time, for sales professionals continues to build for sales professionals. Sales people often ask me for ways to achieve something by skipping steps or finding short cuts for critical steps of the cycle. Especial when there are specific things that have to be executed in one stage of the cycle/process before you can move to the next; some may not seem important at the time, but are fundamental to a successful sale, and there is no escaping them. In some ways in sales it is very much like the old Fram commercial, you can do it now, or you can do it later.
In an environment of declining resources and increased demands and expectations, utilization of time continues to grow as one of the most critical skills for successful sellers. Given the choice between someone who is a good seller or a good user of time, give me the time skilled individual any day. Doesn’t matter how good you are, if you can’t get around to using the skill. Notice I have avoided the term “time management”, because it is never about managing time, but about how we choose to allocate and use time for critical activities; activities are what need to be managed. In most instances, with all things being equal, it is more likely that you miss deals because you ran out of time, rather than running out of skills.
With all the pressure growing each hour and day into the depleting selling year, it is not a surprise that sellers are always seeking short cuts, or tips to reduce time. While I understand what’s driving the desire, I would caution you to focus on the objective and desired outcome(s). Better to look at a sale as an exercise in building. You need to build a solid foundation before you erect the house on top. If you rush things, opt for a short cut and start before the foundation is dry, you’re going to have to go back and do it again, do it right, which will cost time, resources and money.
One example is the propensity to present proposal way too soon, long before key facts are uncovered. I know sellers face tremendous pressure, especially when others are willing to submit at the drop of a hat, but in the end, a bad proposal is a bad proposal no matter how fast you get it in, which why so many come down to price, no foundation.
I was taught that there are five things that have to be in place in order for a proposal to be properly underpinned and solid. Sure I can submit with only four, but more times than not, I have to go back and resell that missed portion or the whole thing. Slowing me and the sale down, if not risking it all together. Again, I know there is pressure, and the other guy is in, but I am will to bet they usually win on price not based on value or the merit of the product or proposal.
The problem with short cuts in sales, is the same as the oil filter, you can do it right the first time, or you can do it later. Problem with later is that it ends up sucking up more time, money and nerves.
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