Tag Archives: Selling

How to Gain Trust With Customers

In a conversation a few weeks ago, I heard a phrase that, frankly, I was hoping had made it to the dumpster of old sales philosophies.  There is an antiquated mentality in sales that says “Buyers are liars.” This mindset teaches salespeople to be skeptical of everything a customer says and to never fully trust them. The logic is that if you don’t trust the customer, you won’t get taken advantage of or misled.  It’s a fear-based mentality, and as you know if you read my work, “Fear” is the worst four-letter word that starts with “F” in sales.

However, this distrustful approach is fundamentally flawed. You cannot build trust and have an authentic relationship with someone if you start from a place of skepticism and withholding trust. Trust has to be reciprocal – you have to give it in order to earn it. Salespeople who say they want their customers’ trust, but don’t extend any trust themselves, are being hypocritical.  And yet, this is something I hear a lot.  Let’s talk about how to REALLY gain trust with customers.

If you go into every sales interaction suspicious of the customer’s motives and truthfulness, the customer will pick up on that vibe. They’ll sense that you view them as a liar or adversary to be conquered rather than a relationship to cultivate. Why would they then open up, engage authentically, and place their trust in you?  Short answer:  they won’t.

The role of a salesperson should be that of a trusted advisor and solutions consultant, not someone just trying to tap the customer’s wallet, regardless of the result. When both parties enter the relationship with trust and authenticity as the foundation, better solutions are reached that serve both sides’ needs.

I’ve said before that “You can either embrace transparency or have it forced upon you.”  Well, if you want to gain trust with customers, you’d better embrace it.  In other words, you need to lead by example and be the first to extend trust to the customer. This means:

  1. Asking Open-Ended Questions & Really Listening: Too often, salespeople fall into the habit of talking at the customer instead of having a dialog. They make assumptions about what the customer needs instead of taking the time to truly understand through asking open-ended questions. Asking and sincerely listening shows you trust the customer to openly share their real needs, sources of dissatisfaction, desired future state, and thoughts.  In fact, let’s take this to another level.
  2. You must ask open ended questions, even when the answer might harm your ability to make a sale:  I’ve seen salespeople who are normally good questioners shy away from asking certain questions, because the answer might disqualify them as a solution to the customer’s needs.  Don’t do that.  “Putting yourself out there” in this way is a way to gain trust with customers – and it’s a way to avoid making deals that you’ll regret down the road.  Don’t ever be afraid to walk away from deals that will have a negative result for you or for the customer.  Many times, you’ll win that business back down the road.
  3. Being Fully Transparent About Your Business Process: Instead of obfuscating next steps or giving vague half-truths about pricing or logistics, be fully upfront and transparent about every aspect of the process. Lay out the exact path from where the customer is today to ownership and implementation of your solution. Hedge nothing. This open communication demonstrates you trust the customer can handle the full truth.  Keep in mind – your role is to help the customer navigate their Buyer’s Journey.  They already know what THEIR process is and where they are in it; you shouldn’t hide YOUR process from them (and of course, your process and their Journey should mesh).
  4. Being Upfront About Pricing & Value: Manipulative tactics like holding back pricing until the end, or overpromising value and downplaying costs, demolish trust. Be accurate and upfront from the start about pricing and quantify the concrete value/ROI. Trust the customer can make an informed decision in their own best interest.  Keep in mind:  Your customer CAN discover a price for your stuff – or your competitor’s – without a salesperson’s intervention these days due to technology.  If they have to resort to technology, you have made yourself unnecessary.  Don’t bitch when they treat you that way.

In today’s world of open information access and buyer empowerment, trying to “control” the sales process no longer works. In truth, it never really did – the customer always had the real control – but it’s definitely easier for customers to kick you out of their Buyer’s Journey now.  If you want to succeed in this world, you have to get rid of fear-based techniques, embrace transparency, build trust, and engage customers in an open and authentic sales conversation. When you lead by demonstrating mutual trust and transparency, you’ll get the right deals done – deals that make everyone happy that you did business, and deals that make the customer look forward to doing business with you again.  And isn’t that what we’re really after?

“I’m Not a Salesperson,” and Other Lies You Tell Yourself

If there’s anything that is guaranteed to drive me up a wall, it’s when salespeople refuse to call themselves salespeople.  In fact, when someone is selling to me and they say, “I’m not a salesperson,” I immediately put my hand on my wallet and leave it there.  I’m just amazed at the amount of people who think that the route to credibility lies in not claiming their role and responsibilities.

Look, I get it. A 2022 HubSpot survey showed that only 3% of the public trust salespeople.  That sucks, but it’s reality (at least we beat out politicians and lobbyists).  And – let’s be honest – that reputation has been earned by generations of salespeople who were, in fact, less than trustworthy.  But still, our profession, done right, is one of the noblest and one of the most important roles in business and our economy.  And when you disclaim your profession, you can actually harm your customer’s trust in you.  I’ll explain why.

My definition of selling (and my opinion about selling matters to you; otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article) is:  Selling is the act of helping customers make positive buying decisions.  And, when you are engaged in the act of helping customers make positive buying decisions through interpersonal contact, you are selling, and therefore you are a salesperson.  We can all agree with that, right?  And again, I fully recognize that many of our predecessors didn’t worry about whether the customer was making a positive buying decision. It was “sell at all costs.”  I worked with some of those guys and worked for some of those guys.  Guess what?  They’re obsolete.

The tactics that those past salespeople used relied on a lack of transparency and the customer’s lack of access to information.  Today, customers can learn more about you in ten minutes than they could in half a day 20 years ago.  That’s changed the dynamic. Today’s customers are smarter, more informed, more savvy, and more empowered, and they expect their intelligence, knowledge, savvy, and empowerment to be respected by the salesperson.  Which brings me back to the issue of trust.

Here’s something you need to understand, because your customer understands it:  When you tell the customer that you’re “not a salesperson,” when you obviously are, you are lying to your customer.  Worse, your customer knows that you are lying.  And when you begin your interactions with your customer on a lie, they’re probably not going to believe anything else you say.  It’s no coincidence that the “I’m not a salesperson” people are usually the least effective at selling.

There’s another level to this, too.  These days, there are a ton of job titles that are an attempt to mask the salesperson’s responsibility in selling.  “Business Development,” “Account Manager,” “Customer Consultant,” “Territory Manager,” and others are a way to try to elevate the salesperson in the eyes of the customer (and others that they encounter) and hide the fact that the holder of that title is, in fact, a salesperson.  Guess what?  Your customer knows.  They’re not stupid.

And, to take another side street in this route, those of you who are business owners, solopreneurs, consultants, and freelancers – when you are engaging your customers in an attempt to help them make positive buying decisions that go in your favor, you’re salespeople too.  Own it.  Be proud of it.

Selling – done right – is probably the most important role in our companies and our economy. To say that “nothing happens until someone sells something” is a true statement.  Without an order, no factory can build a machine, which in turn means that they can’t hire workers, which means that those workers can’t buy a cheeseburger, which means that nobody can open a burger joint, and…well, you get the idea.  Heck, last week, I had a speaking engagement at a company back east that makes corrugated boxes.  They had recently redone the plant to be almost fully automated.  And, as I was watching this huge, multi-million dollar machine convert corrugated cardboard rolls into finished, printed boxes, my first thought was, “Damn, I bet the guy who sold that machine had a great weekend after!”

Because, at some point, someone had to call on the owner of this company.  They had to ask questions to determine the needs.  They had to customize and make a presentation and communicate value.  They had to craft a proposal to show that value and ROI.  There was probably some negotiation involved and persuasion.  And then the sale had to be closed.  That’s the responsibility of a salesperson. Oh, and as a side note – nobody lost their job at that plant; people got reassigned and made the company much more efficient.

As you’ve probably figured out, I’m not a fan of titles that mask what we do, nor salespeople who disavow our great profession.  I’m the Sales Navigator.  I’m a consultant, I’m a trainer, I’m a coach, I’m a speaker, and I’m an author.  But at the root of all of these things is that I’m a salesman, and I’m damned proud of it.  You should be, too.

How to Fix a Bad Sales Presentation

We’ve all been there.  I don’t care how good you are as a salesperson, a manager, or a speaker – you’ve been in the middle of a sales presentation and realized that it was going sideways.  In titling this article, “How to fix a sales presentation,” I don’t mean that I’m going to tell you how to CREATE a great sales presentation.  I already have videos and articles on that topic.

No, I’m going to tell you how to do something more challenging – how to fix a sales presentation while it’s going bad.  It requires some heavy mental lifting on your part.  It also requires an uncomfortable level of transparency on my part, because I have to tell you about my biggest failure as a professional speaker.  It’s a story that I don’t enjoy telling, and one that still bothers me, nine years later.  But to tell you how to fix a bad presentation, I have to tell you about my worst one and how I didn’t fix it.  So, if you’d like to watch me kick my own ass in words, click below.

It was the spring of 2014, and my national speaking career was still very much in the growth stage.  I was on a little mini-tour.  On Sunday, I was to give a keynote to office furniture dealers in Palm Springs, CA.  Then I drove to Las Vegas on Monday to speak on at a different conference on Wednesday (an extra day in Vegas is always a good thing for me).  Then, back to Long Beach to speak at yet another conference on Friday and Saturday.  Four different programs in seven days, at three different conventions, in three different cities, all of which promised a lot of fun.

It’s that first speech that I want to tell you about.  I was delivering a morning keynote.  At the time, keynotes were not my specialty (I’ve since come up with a couple of really good ones), but I was pumped up.  However, ten minutes into the speech, I noticed that it wasn’t landing.  There wasn’t any note-taking.  The laugh lines weren’t generating laughter.  And worse, the hundred faces staring back at me were blank.  I knew it was going bad.

Still, I pushed through.  I gave my speech as planned.  After all, it was the topic that the head of the association and I had landed on.  My speech couldn’t possibly have been the problem.  Maybe it was just too early in the morning.  When I called for questions after 50 minutes, there was one or two – I can’t remember which.  In a good speech, I typically have more questions than I have time to answer.  And when I ended, there was the politest of applause, and then everyone filed out.  NOBODY came up to talk to me afterwards.  That’s when I knew that I had well and truly laid an egg.

When the post-conference evaluations were sent to me, I was embarrassed.  The scores were low and nearly every comment was about how the topic wasn’t what they were expecting to hear.  I got no business from attendees (unusual), and to this day, that association won’t consider bringing me back.  That bridge is burned.  Understand – my speech wasn’t offensive, I used no profanity or off-color humor, nothing like that.  I just missed the mark by a long shot.

I’ve thought about it a lot since then.  If I had it to do over, I’d have done it much differently.  You see, what really bothers me is that I knew that I was missing the mark, and I did nothing about it.  I wasn’t being lazy – I just didn’t know what to do.  Afterwards, I decided that I’d never finish a speech that was going wrong without doing something different.  Here’s what I’d have done, if I had it to do over.

I’d have stopped my speech.  I’d have said something like, “You know, based on your expressions, I’m not talking about what you want me to talk about.  Let me ask YOU a question.  What can I do, from this stage, to make the rest of our hour together time well spent for you?”  It’s not like I didn’t have other material; at the time, I probably had ten other good speeches, and I’m good at winging it and making up material on the spot.  I have a feeling that if I’d asked, they’d have given me an idea that I could have used, and I could have shifted gears and done something they’d have appreciated and enjoyed for the last 45 minutes of my time.  Would it have been unorthodox?  Heck, yes.  But the key is that, at that point, my risk was zero. I was already bombing, and my choice was to either keep bombing or to try something.  If that other something hadn’t worked, either, so what?  I’d at least have gone down swinging, and I might have saved the speech and the relationship with the association.  Instead, I ruined both.

Maybe you’ve had that experience during a sales presentation – it’s going flat and you don’t know why.  If that happens to you (and if you sell enough, it either will happen or has happened), here’s how to fix a bad sales presentation.

  1. The first rule of finding yourself in a hole is:  Stop digging.  Stop the presentation when you realize it’s going bad.  If the presentation is falling flat, always remember that the risk of changing it up is zero – so your fear of doing so should be zero as well.
  2. The person in the room who knows what they want is right across from you – the customer.  Ask why your presentation is going wrong.  Put the burden on yourself – “You know, Mr. Customer, I feel like this presentation isn’t hitting the mark.  What have I missed?  Did I misinterpret your needs?”  In my case, the problem was that I hadn’t talked to any of the dealers who were attending the conference beforehand, so I didn’t know what it was that they were looking for.  I’d asked the wrong questions of the wrong people.  Most of the time, when a sales presentation goes wrong, it’s not the presentation itself – it’s the needs discovery beforehand.  At this point, if you have to go back and ask the right questions of the right people, DO IT.  Pressing on could cost you the customer.
  3. Change it up. This step requires a high degree of confidence and mental agility.  But we salespeople have that, don’t we?  Once you understand the real needs of the right people, NOW you can move forward.  Don’t be afraid to create a presentation on the spot.  By “presentation,” I don’t mean a slide deck (unless you just happen to have some visuals on hand that can help); I mean your VERBAL presentation that will address their needs.

When your risk is zero, the potential reward is high.  High reward with low risk is what we all want.  That presentation still bugs me, but I’ve never made that mistake again.  Ever since, I’ve been more careful about pre-conference preparation.  I’ve never given that particular speech again; in fact, I don’t even list it anymore. And only once since have I ever had that “This is going flat” feeling.  That was two years later, and I did exactly what I suggested above.  The last 30 minutes of that program were very well received, and I still speak for that association.

That’s how to fix a bad sales presentation.  Be mentally agile, able to perceive that “moment,” and mentally agile enough to change gears, and you won’t have to have that feeling that I have as I write about my biggest failure as a speaker.

Are You Asking Enough Sales Questions?

Sales Questioning Poll ResultsAre you asking enough questions?  A couple of weeks ago, I ran a poll on a very popular LinkedIn group.  The poll question was simple:  “On the average, how many discovery questions do you ask a new customer on an initial appointment?”  If you’ve read any of my work at all, you know that I believe that the root of good things in selling is asking a lot of good questions; in fact, questioning is the longest unit in my training programs.  Well, I’m starting to feel like I’m on an island with a pretty small population.

The results were shocking to me.  Spoiler alert:  37% of respondents said that they asked 1-5 questions on a first appointment; 41% asked 6-10.  In my opinion, the sweet spot for a quality discovery is 11-15 questions; only 11% of respondents were in that bracket. 12% were discovery overachievers who asked more than 15 questions.   After I pushed my lower jaw back up (it had dropped to hit the desk), I realized that within weakness in the market, there is opportunity.  And it’s YOUR opportunity.  If 77% of salespeople ask 10 or less questions, they’re not getting to know customers very well.  That’s your competition.  Want to beat them?  Ask more questions.  But what should you be asking about?  I’ll tell you.

  • Your contact’s professional history. “How did you come to be in this position?” is a great question.  People love to tell their stories, and this question gives you a great window into their viewpoints as well as being a good rapport-building question.  For instance, a plant manager who started out turning wrenches might respond to different value propositions than one who came to the plant fresh from getting an MBA.
  • The company’s past, present, and future. Yes, many companies put this info on their website.  Have you ever seen a website that was out of date?  Me too. And if you are working from obsolete or incorrect information, you might end up presenting the wrong solutions.  Ask – or, better, refer to what you read and ask for your contact’s viewpoint on it.  That way you show that you’ve done your homework AND that you’re curious.
  • Company priorities. Just because your “stuff” is the most important thing in the world to you, it doesn’t mean that it’s the most important thing to your customer.  Where does your stuff fall on the list of priorities for your company or your contact?  This will have a lot to do with the importance and urgency of your proposal.
  • Needs regarding your stuff. Notice that we are just now starting to ask about what you sell, and what their needs are regarding it.  That’s because your end of the world is a small part of the big picture in their world – and you need to know the lay of the land before you start probing what’s wrong in your part of the world.  By the way, don’t neglect asking about what’s right in your part of the world – if you don’t get the sale, this is going to be a big part of the reason why.
  • How they define success. Ultimately, all sales questions boil down to understanding how your customer defines a successful purchase, and how you can help them achieve it.  Still, at this point, you should probably ask a direct question about how they will define success.
  • Process questions. You should also understand the customer’s buying process, and how it will impact this purchase.
  • More questions. There’s more to ask – but you get the idea. Are you asking enough questions?  Here’s what you should know:  If you ask six questions, you are now better than 37% of your competitors.  If you ask 11 questions, you are now better than 78% of your competitors.  And so on.  And you should, of course, drill down on many of those questions.

Is my survey scientific?  Nope.  It was a LinkedIn survey.  This probably skews the numbers, but does so in a positive way.  Salespeople on LinkedIn groups who respond to surveys like this one are probably higher on the scale of the profession, because they’re more engaged.  So, if anything, that means that the real numbers are worse than what’s reported on my survey. In the comments, some “salespeople” expressed disdain for the very idea that comprehensive questioning is important; one even said, “If a salesperson is a dynamic opener, he doesn’t need to ask many questions and can close the sale in one call.”  I suppose there are areas of selling where that might be true, but it’s not in a highly professional sales universe.

The bottom line – when you are considering your questioning and discovery, here are some things to remember:

  • More is typically better.
  • Asking questions shows you care.
  • The worst question is the one you don’t ask.
  • From time to time, you should re-ask questions of current customers; things change.
  • Great salespeople are always working to improve their questioning skills.

That’s all for now.  If you’ll excuse me, I have to get the look of amazement off my face.

5 Sales Trends After Covid-19

5 Sales Trends After Covid-19

Experts tell us that if there is to be a recovery, it’s to be a V-shaped recovery. We are at or near the bottom of the V.  That leaves us no place to go but up.

And second – if that recovery happens, we (salespeople) will be the spearhead taking us up the hill.  As I’ve said before, we are a key economic driver in the country.  That hasn’t changed.  What has changed is HOW we will have to lead the economy back up the hill.  There are certain aspects of our profession that will, in my opinion, be changed both in the short term and permanently – and before you get down in the dumps about it, those changes are not bad, if we embrace them.

  1. Video substituting for phone and in-person activity. Right now, if you’re selling, I’d almost guarantee that you’re doing a lot of it by video conference – Zoom, Teams, Skype, or other platforms.  You might think this will be a temporary substitute for “real” selling.  In some cases, it is; in others, it won’t be.  You will find that some of your customers prefer this type of interaction over face-to-face or phone sales calls.  This doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  Alan Weiss likes to say, “email is one-dimensional; phone is two-dimensional; face to face is three-dimensional.”  Let’s call a video conference two and a half dimensions; it’s somewhere in between phone and in-person.It’s tempting to think of this as a way to lose quality with customers.  And, it’s true that when it substitutes for face to face, you lose half a dimension. But – when you sub a video call for a phone call, you GAIN half a dimension!  And if you can sub video calls for more phone calls (appointments) than you do for face to face calls, you can have a net gain in your sales activity.  This is a good thing – so get good at video conferencing.  I’ll be creating a video later this week on how to maximize video conference time. What is certain is that this trend will definitely influence, if not create, the next trend.
  2. More efficient sales calls. One side effect of the above trend is that your sales calls will, of necessity, become more compressed.  Sales dialogues are typically shorter because a lot of the “fluff” of conversations goes away when you’re on phone or video – you won’t talk as much about the weather, the game last night, or other extraneous “stuff.”  Instead, your customer will want you to focus on the matter at hand.   You’ll find yourself covering the same, or more, ground in 30 minutes (or less) than you used to cover in an hour.  One positive result of this could be more sales calls; if more of your appointments are video appointments, they will both be shorter and you won’t have to spend time driving between them. Hence, more appointments per day.What that also means is that, if you’re not good at the meat of sales calls (asking great questions and making great presentations, you need to GET good at it.  If you don’t, you won’t get customer time.  And speaking of customer time and efficiency, if you’re not tracking and recording your customer time, you’re going to lose to people who are.  To do that, you need to consider the next trend mandatory (too many don’t).
  3. CRM. Don’t get me wrong; CRM has been out there for decades – but I’m still shocked at how many companies aren’t using it, or aren’t using it well.  It’s time.  Actually, it’s past time – but if you haven’t yet, do it now.  CRM facilitates communication among all the people in-house that can affect the customer experience, and if you are dependent upon in-person communication to make the experience a positive one, you’re in trouble right now.  Your customer information is the most critical and valuable asset you have – beyond your products and even beyond your people.The key is to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  I see even small companies spend months or even a year or more finding “the right” CRM; in the process, you’re losing customer data.  There are many systems out there that are cheap or even free that will allow you to be up and running with all your salespeople within days.  I use HubSpot.  It’s free, online, and it has a really nice mobile app.  You don’t have to use it – but you should use SOMETHING.  If you decide to switch later, you can always port your data over.  But if you don’t have any data, you’re losing sales to sales teams that do. Falling behind is going to be bad for you, because the speed of the sales world is picking up – which accentuates another trend that has been going for awhile:
  4. The end of the Good Time Charlie. There are salespeople out there – I call them “Good Time Charlies” – whose sales technique consists of telling jokes, laughing, and buying things like lunches, football tickets, etc.  Those salespeople are handcuffed right now – it’s hard to buy lunch when you can’t get face to face with your customers.  Tickets to sporting events don’t matter much when you can’t GO to sporting events.The truth is that sales has been pivoting toward more substantive and value-based selling for years, and the “Good Time Charlies” have been losing ground for awhile now – but now, they’re stranded in the water.  If you’re one of them, or you employ one of them, it’s time to change.  And speaking of change – embrace it.  That requires the next trend:
  5. Agility. Know what?  I do think the above four trends will be evergreen after Covid-19.  There’s also the possibility that I could be wrong; that one or more of the trends will change (I don’t see it, however).  Or, it could be possible that new trends or tech emerges.  So – the most important trend going forward is agility.  Don’t get locked into a single approach; one of the great things about selling is the constant change.

It’s going to be a Brave New World of selling after we come out of this.  The key is to be brave and embrace the new.  Over the next five weeks, I’m going to be going into each trend in specific detail, so keep reading this space.

How Salespeople Can Maximize Their Time And Relationships During Covid-19

How Salespeople Can Maximize Their Time And Relationships During Covid-19

If you’re like most salespeople, you’re working as hard as you can to get a good path forward going during the Covid-19 crisis. Maybe you’re having more trouble getting ahold of prospects, or maybe you’re struggling with in-house interactions.  And, if you’re like me, you’re getting very tired of two popular video types that I’ve seen:  The “Sunshine and Roses” video, or the “Get off your butt and just sell” video.

I think it’s time to get real.  Let’s get serious about where we are in the sales profession, what’s available to us right now, and how we can best use our time and talents to recover from Covid-19 as best we can.  In this video, I explain my thoughts.

Three Very Important Words

One of the most important three-word phrases in business is: sense of urgency. When I look over the various winners and losers I’ve seen in the business world, those three words tend to define the difference between winning and losing. In a nutshell, winners have the sense of urgency; losers do not. When you’re analyzing your own performance or that of your salespeople, ask yourself, “do they display a sense of urgency about their jobs – or not?”

One might think that tighter economic times would provoke greater sense of urgency on the part of those whose responsibility it is to make things happen (i.e. salespeople). Often, however, the result is the opposite, because urgency’s enemy – fear – sets in. Salespeople who would otherwise be highly motivated to make calls get nervous and apprehensive about “the economy,” and thus calls go unmade (“I’d rather call them when the news is better.” Of course, since “the economy” is simply the cumulative effect of individual decisions to do or not to do business, every such postponement actually makes the economy a little worse.

Let’s take a look at some of the roles within a (your?) company, and look at how a lack of urgency can negatively impact sales success.

The salesperson: This is fairly easy. In fact, we just discussed such an example above. However, I see a lack of urgency in many different parts of the sales process. As an example – recently, an out-of-town company prospected me to purchase a fairly innovative marketing program. Coincidentally, a local KC company contacted me the very next day, offering a similar service. I know and like the owner of the local company, and I am a buy-local guy when it makes sense. So, I met with them and discussed some possibilities. I then waited for a proposal. And waited. And waited. Meanwhile, the out of town company kept calling me to follow up. When I finally received a proposal from the local company (after not one but two calls asking if they wanted my business or not), it was less targeted to my needs than the one I’d received well before from the out of town company. Reasoning that if the local outfit didn’t have a sense of urgency about winning the business, they were unlikely to have one when it came to servicing the business, I went with the out of town company. I’m pleased with my decision – but if the local company had followed up aggressively, they’d have won the deal.

The sales manager: Sales managers can lose sense of urgency in many ways; the decision to make changes in personnel, for instance, becomes a lack of urgency. The most common way for urgency to get lost at the sales management level is when changes are desired by ownership, and the sales manager is lackadaisical about pushing that message to his reps, and making sure that the right things happen. The biggest way the sales manager can reflect a lack of urgency, however, is simply by not making certain that his reps are maximizing their 40 hours per week.

The business owner: Business owners can sometimes lose a sense of urgency because acting quickly is painful. For instance, I have seen numerous instances where long time managers needed to be replaced or reassigned within the company; their abilities weren’t a match for the company’s needs going forward. However, the business owner was reluctant to do so because of personal relationships or simple fear of change. The problem is that the one thing we can never recover is time lost – and when a decision needs to be made, every day lost in the action is time lost (and money lost).

People lose a sense of urgency because they believe that there are no consequences for slow action. In a restaurant, it’s the idea that the customer won’t walk out if their order isn’t taken promptly (I do walk out); in a salesperson, it’s the thought that the customer will be just as willing to buy tomorrow than they are today – or even more willing (not always true); in a business owner, it’s a lack of understanding that money lost today can’t be replaced tomorrow.

While there are other ways “sense of urgency” can hamper companies at every management level, hopefully, you’re getting the idea. Sense of urgency means maximizing every lead, every call, every proposal, and every hour. If you’re doing it, great! If not, remember those three little words.