I was heading home from a recent trip to Denver. Riding the train on my way to the C concourse in the Denver Airport I couldn’t help but overhear an airport employee as he shared a solid concept with a co-worker.
He was enthusiastically describing how he earmarked $150 of every paycheck come right off the top and go into his savings account. He was talking to the other guy on the train about how he did this first, took it off the top and pretended the money didn’t exist after it went into his savings account. That was how he was having success saving money.
This was great advice to his co-worker. Obviously most financial advisors worth their weight will tell you that the key to financial success is to pay yourself first.
When I heard this gentlemen share this concept with his friend, I couldn’t help but think about the 3rd habit in Stephen Convey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. The third habit is to “Put First Things First”. Immediately I thought about how as sales people we tend NOT to live by this principle and it gets us in a lot of trouble.
One of the biggest challenges I see is that sales people tend to get caught up in the service trap. Busy managing accounts, answering calls and generally doing things that don’t lead to a future result. Empty pipelines tend to be the norm.
Because of the lack of proactive planning and putting first things first, key behaviors like prospecting fill the calendar as left overs which we get to when we have time. That time never magically appears.
Just like most people when they try to save money, they spend what they spend and then at the end of the month look to see what is left over. If there is anything left, that goes into savings. The problem is, there is rarely anything left at the end of the month. This habit won’t get you far and is the reason financial planners advise that you have to pay yourself first.
As well, the habit of good prospecting behaviors cannot be reactively scheduled into your calendar after you have done everything else. It must come first. If you are truly going to build sales success and meet your goals you must pay yourself first. In sales, the way you do this is to put prospecting activity and behavior before anything else.
Putting first things first when it comes to your career will help you create momentum, good activity, and a vibrant pipeline. What follows will be confidence, passion and walk away power. When those things are in place, you will become unstoppable.
I want to encourage you to take all of your prospecting activities and schedule them into your calendar first thing Monday morning each week or Friday afternoon as you are preparing for the following week. Do this for a month and then stick to the prospecting commitments you made to yourself. The results will come! Trust the process!