In my experience working with thousands of salespeople, I’ve learned that there are relatively few activities that have any real impact – positive or negative – on the results they enjoy (or not). For that reason, I’ve advised top performers to always be asking themselves two questions:
- What are the three most important activities that will best contribute to my desired results?
- Am I doing them?
The challenge in life has always been to balance the urgent with the important (often referred to as The Tyranny of the Urgent). As “The Great Recession” ends and “The Great Recovery” begins, the difficulty in successfully navigating this challenge will balloon, for one simple reason – people are busy.
“I’m too busy.”
What a great excuse. In today’s environment, no one can argue with it.
The problem is that “busy-ness” has become the impenetrable reason that stops people from doing things that a) matter and/or b) make them nervous/are out of their comfort zone/they are scared of (take your choice).
- Important action: Develop a list of 20 companies to pursue and start developing relationships there. Sounds great, I’ll get to it just as soon as I clear things up. I’m just too busy. Reality – it’s out of the comfort zone and it makes one nervous.
- Important action: Develop a pull marketing program. Yup, I’d love to do that – I’m just too busy to create the content. Reality – I don’t really like writing, and besides, how will I know it will work?
- Important action: Make a call to the senior person at the prospect’s company, rather than respond to the RFP. Hey, that’s a great idea. I just don’t know where to fit it into my schedule. Reality – I don’t know what I would say to the senior person and I’m afraid I’d look foolish.
You get my point.
The danger of the busy-ness excuse is that the only one who knows the truth is the one making the excuse.
Success today requires more effort, and yes, more bravery, than at any time in my professional career. I’m reminded of what the lecturer Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture) said about brick walls: They’re great because they keep everyone else out.
So it’s your choice, stick with the busy-ness excuse, or get busy doing what really matters.