What Is the Value of Your Time?
As professionals in any field (sales or otherwise) the only true asset we have is our time. How we invest our time determines our happiness and success in relationships, business, and everything we do.
The value we produce comes from the investment of our time. It is all we have. Therefore, it is critical that we invest it in the best ways possible.
In sales we have a paradox of sorts. We want to manage our time so we can be with potential clients, but often prospective clients actually waste our time.
Targeting your ideal customer is a crucial aspect of preserving your time. Investing time in the wrong targets is one of the biggest mistakes in selling. What I’d like to focus on here however, is how to determine if the person we are already in front of is a worthy investment of our time or not.
A key method of testing the quality of the potential client we are in front of is asking for some form of commitment. We want to make them do something that takes a little energy to test their resolve. All too often the energy expenditure is all on the side of the salesperson.
I liken this to throwing a ball to the client. If they take the effort to throw the ball back then I know they want to play ball. If they won’t throw the ball back (regardless of how much we might want to play) then we know there’s no game here to be played.
I have taught this principle to many reps and once they understand the difference between an Advance (where the client is putting forth some effort) and a Continuation (where they are not) they tend to become far more successful.
Are You Efficient or Effective?
It is natural when attempting to improve our productivity that we immediately seek to do the things we already know, just faster. This is because we are drawing upon information within us — the processes we already know — as the basis for our improvement. We seek to do the things we know, just more efficiently.
I have seen many reps that were already very efficient by any standard pouring a ton of energy into opportunities that were going nowhere. This is often because they focus their energy on doing the wrong things (and only very slightly so). Yet this slight difference can cause them to underachieve their potential in a very big way.
This then, is the difference between efficiency and effectiveness:
- Efficiency is reducing the time it takes to do something.
- Effectiveness is doing the right things.
As a sidebar, improving effectiveness requires assessing all of the things we can do to produce results and adopting those things that produce the best outcomes. The challenge is, we don’t know what we don’t know. That is, we are not always aware of all the possible alternatives to the methods we are currently using. For this reason, improving effectiveness often requires help from someone with a perspective different than our own.
When reps inadvertently allow meetings with clients to result in continuations (even if they are very efficient) they are being ineffective. There are just a few magic questions we need to ask in order to make each meeting effective and we will cover those in an upcoming post. One of those questions revolves around what would be an ideal outcome of our meeting and the asking of little commitments to prospective clients to determine the quality of each opportunity.
The responses we receive from our small commitment requests allow us to be effective in our investment of time with prospects.
Closing Tip: Increase your effectiveness by asking for minor commitments in every meeting to gauge the potential of each opportunity.
Until next time!