Infocusselling’s Blog

September 21, 2009

The Myth of Busyness

Busyness is dangerous for business. I’ve heard repeatedly in the past 60 days that things have opened up. When so many businesses have gone as long as they have without being busy, this sudden surge seems overwhelming and distracting. Sales reps get bogged down, the now lean operations department gets stressed, and everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief that the worst is over. This is a big mistake. I’m about to spout some heresy so hang on.

It’s nearly October meaning we have only three months left to finish strong in 2009 and only three months to start feeding the 2010 pipeline. If you are experiencing a sudden uptick in business, that’s great and I’m happy for you. Now, work longer hours and keep selling. Forget about breathing easy and forget about smiling at how all your networking has paid off.

Right now you should be having two kinds of meetings: prospects who are prospects right now and prospects who are prospects for 2010. If someone is not a prospect, take them off your calendar. You don’t have time for fence sitters and wishy-washy people who “might do something” in a month or two, or who are “thinking it over” or who are “looking to see if it’s in the budget.”

Your time is incredibly valuable and you owe it to yourself and to your family to bring it home. Learn how to spot a true prospect from someone who has no chance of buying from you. Think about what those who became clients said during your meetings and compare it to what was said by those who never signed. As you meet new people, listen carefully and objectively but not optimistically. If you hear a fence-sitter, be polite but be specific. Find out if they are serious and if not, stop wasting time on them.

Before I get razzed for thrashing networking, I’m not saying that networking is not still part of the mix. It is, and you need to network. But networking meetings are different from prospect meetings in that networking meetings end with referrals and introductions. Prospect meetings end with either an order or a decision not to go forward. Either is fine; something in between is not.

You network to fill your calendar with prospect meetings. You meet prospects to fill your sales column. If someone does not fit either column, you’re too busy to meet and you need to focus on the sale right in front of you.

Click here for information on a nearly free workshop on Sales and Marketing in 2009 and Beyond sponsored by Business Ownership Initiative.

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6 Comments »

  1. Thank you. Great article. We are busy, but I know that we still have another winter ahead of us. Optimism is fine, but I want to stay alert and make sure we are insulated well enough.

    Comment by John Wiley — September 22, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  2. Great points, Jeff!

    An old maxim reminds us to “Never confuse activity with progress.” It can feel good to have a calendar filled with appointments, but if those meetings do not generate value than they do not provide a benefit for your business. A secret to productivity is to actually produce. Make sure that whatever you are doing with your time produces results instead of just occupying time.

    @robbyslaughter

    Comment by Robby Slaughter — September 22, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  3. John,
    Exactly! Complacency during a small spurt is a near certain path to disaster. Refine, redirect, repeat. If only all businesses did it!
    Jeff Bowe

    Comment by infocusselling — September 22, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  4. So true…the root of productivity is produce. How easy it is to forget that the root of salesperson is sale and the root of success should be focus. When we get busy, we should forget the unnecessary and redouble the required. Just think where businesses would be if they really cut out unnecessary activity, reporting, tracking, and movement, and focused only on selling and delivery. Delivery would take care of customer service, and we could see GNP rise dramatically.

    Comment by infocusselling — September 22, 2009 @ 8:00 pm

  5. Right on the nose and timely. I had a conversation just this morning at a networking one on one meeting. I told that individual I was recently reviewing my activity for the very points you bring out in your article. I was concerned about: Am I meeting just to fill the day and make myself feel good that I had a full day or do I actually need to take a stronger position and learn to say no to prospects on the fence and one on one meetings that take me nowhere. Your last two paragraphs say it all. I am actually going to print this article and place it in my journal so I can read and remind myself periodically what I am supposed to be doing.

    Thank you,
    Jim

    Comment by Jim Shireman — September 23, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  6. Amen, Jeff. It is so easy to fill your calendar with ‘activity’. The real killer is when a prospect does show up and you’ve got yourself so fully booked you don’t give the time or effort necessary to land the sale. Being strategic can be ruthless, but in this economy the winners are the ones with discipline.

    Comment by Dave Anderson — September 24, 2009 @ 12:31 am


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