Over the last couple weeks, I led my seasoned sales pros in a training exercise designed to create solutions to overcome a common stall point in sales; getting in front of a busy business owner.
They were given a scenario in which I played our dream client, “Kat.” I supplied them with the back story – Kat’s company had already been qualified. I was satisfied with my current supplier but open to discussion. However, I had zero motivation to move with speed; or at all. Oh, and I had an assistance (gatekeeper), Maggie.
Their challenge: Get on my calendar by July 13th. Challenge Issue Date: June 29th. Game On.
One Note: These guys are excellent at what they do. They are experienced, talented, hungry, and accustomed to success. They are the Webster entry for HUNTER.
So… July rushes in & any action? Nope.
July 3rd –First outreaches are bland, standard fare invitations to meet with them. I respond in kind – slowly with bored, polite interest – someday.
The days tick on; some passing without any effort, some passing with another stab. Remember… these are not your everyday sales reps. These are top drawer pros accustomed to negotiating with business owners.
And yet, their effort – and thus, their outcome – was mediocre. The easy path. The hopeful path… maybe I’ll get lucky, and it will fall into place. Which, of course, it didn’t.
95% of folks give up after these mediocre attempts fail. They go back to their boss and report, “I left messages but she hasn’t called me back,” or “I’m waiting on someone else and they are late,” or “I got pulled into a mountain of work.” All which can be translated as: I gave up.
But these guys are in the 5%. They are competitive. They are not giving up. As we approach their final date, they finally get serious. They send testimonials, video clips, return on investment analysis, handwritten cards, and even money – reminding me that with each moment we don’t talk – I’m losing more. Stand out of the crowd, charming, humorous but highly effective efforts.
When one method fails, they bend their minds and step up the efforts.
But here’s the rub…. They didn’t do any of that until it was clear they were at risk of missing their deadline. For the first week, they languished in the status quo. In the second week, they took charge, mounted their horses, and charged. All because of a date.
I believe every task worth doing is also worthy of a date. A date that reminds, focuses, and drives us on delivering results. Without it, days melt into the next, excuses mount, justifications become louder than the goal. And, at some point, this “task” which, when completed will pay huge dividends, slips our minds.
Until someone reminds us. Or worse yet, until someone else completes it.
And the remedy? Just set the date. Game On.