For success, stay in condition and out of trouble
It struck me that this type of commitment and literal conditioning takes a deep discipline – to work leisure activities in around accepted business hours.
Becoming a good professional salesperson requires the same type of discipline that is required of other true professionals. Athletes, physicians, college professors, firefighters – you name the profession, and the people at the top pay a price every day to stay there. The price they pay is their conditioning.
Conditioning is a way of life. It’s a set of rules, sometimes philosophical but always practical. Follow the rules and you’ll always be conditioned to make the best use of the system.
Through the years, Sandler Training has charted the success and failure of thousands of sales professionals. We’ve documented that those who become top sales performers and remain at the top year after year condition themselves daily for success.
One method of conditioning is to stay on the right side of the trouble line. Salespeople have a choice to make every day. They can either be on “Pay-Time” or “No-Pay Time.” Trouble occurs when you spend too much time on the “No-Pay Time” side of the line.
Pay-time is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or whichever part of the day or night is best for presenting your product or service to prospects. This is that special time when prospects are inclined to see you, when you call on referrals, set appointments and service your customers.
No-Pay Time is important, too, but it’s set aside for planning, conditioning, learning more about your product or service and attending meetings. No-Pay Time usually occurs after 5 p.m. and before 9 a.m. for business-business industries.
When you perform no-pay time activities during pay-time hours, you create a worse problem than simply hurting your sales performance. If you’re supposed to be doing one thing, and you know it, but you do something else, two negatives occur: You feel guilty because you’re violating your conditioning, and you’re less productive because you’re doing the wrong thing.
Do you see how that leads to trouble?
If you’re sitting in your office during pay-time, but you’re spending hours planning, reading trade literature, conducting meetings and moving prospect cards from the left side of the desk to the right side, or even if you’re in your car driving from the west side of town to the east side, you may say you’re working but you know you’re working on the wrong side of the trouble line.
Another trick to help you use pay-time productively is to set goals. I’m not talking about annual goals and five-year plans; they have their place. I’m talking about setting daily goals. Top sales performers condition themselves by beginning every day with goals. “Today, I want to accomplish the following …” and they typically record their goals in writing. I suggest you keep a daily journal to help maintain quality time management.
This occurs because the salesperson failed to consistently spend time on the right side of the trouble line.
If you want to get to the top of your sales profession, be consistent. Stay on the right side of the trouble line, and make your pay-time productive.
Bob Bolak is president of Sandler Training in Boulder. For a free copy of “Why Salespeople Fail and What to Do About It,” call Bolak at 303-376-6165 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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