By Stu Schlackman
Remember those good ole days back in college when you knew you had finals lurking just a couple of weeks away and you committed to study a little bit each night? You promised to be disciplined and not wait to cram everything in at the last minute. And what happened? Sure enough, finals week was staring you right in the face. The proverbial all-nighter is inevitable. You are now cramming for exams and scrambling to finish your projects.
Panic sets in and you wonder how you let this happen swearing that you would be disciplined as the semester was ending.
Why do so many people wait to the last minute? Why don’t they spread their workload out over a realistic timeframe? The bottom line? We procrastinate!
Many can relate to this. Procrastination is part of human nature. We live in such a fast-paced society that forces you to juggle multiple balls on a daily basis that getting to your priorities seems to always have delay. The more output you have the more chances for originality. Click To Tweet
But while procrastination may lead to a last minute, stress-filled scramble, it also has its advantages.
Procrastination as a Positive: So what is the advantage of procrastination? The more you wait on accomplishing a project, task or creative endeavor, the more time you have for your ideas to simmer and develop. Ideas can mature in your subconscious without you realizing it. As you procrastinate you give yourself more time for ideas to mature. It serves as an incubator for your ideas.
As we amass multiple ideas in our mind, we start connecting the multiple ideas to formulate new ones. Procrastination helps this process develop.
When team members have brainstorming sessions, multiple ideas are put on the board. As we look at the ideas, we start to combine them to form new ideas. This is how creativity happens. It’s connecting the dots of multiple ideas that brings about new ones.
In other words, it leads to great achievements and innovation.
So procrastinating might not be so bad after all.
For many of you who work 50 to 60 hours a week juggling multiple accounts and opportunities, preparing a new presentation for a prospect might come down to the last minute. We kick ourselves for not being more organized in advance, but we often perform better under pressure. Also, we can expect our past experiences to kick in when we perform. Great sales people are known for thinking on their feet.
Quantity Over Quality: Sometimes quantity is better than quality. The quantity of ideas you have can lead to new ideas that are unique and creative and just might fit the customer’s need.
This makes total sense to most sales professionals. We multi-task, having many different tasks to perform for numerous accounts and that can help us be more original and creative. It’s like when your kids were playing football or any other sport; their grades were better than when they were not playing sports. You are more productive when you are busy. The more output you have the more chances for originality.
So the bottom line when preparing for a major customer presentation or developing a large proposal is to gather your team members and generate as many ideas as possible as to why you’re the right fit. Ask, “What can we communicate about our company, our value, or competitive advantage?” The more quantity of ideas, the better your chances of the quality ideas that are more original than those of the past.
As a sales professional, you are the quarterback on the team for your clients. You are responsible for touching or leading every aspect of the opportunity. You must be involved in creating the proposal, making the presentation, understanding the customer’s needs, and even understanding their credit situation. You are the go-to person for the client.
You need to leverage all your experiences to become more original. It’s been said many times that you learn more from the sales you lose than the sales you win. That’s where you gain experience. You learn from your mistakes and for the next opportunity you have more experience and insight as to what can work versus what might not work. You learn how to read customer situations as you relate them to those in the past that were similar. In other words what’s worked versus not worked.
When the pressure mounts at the last minute to get a presentation or a proposal ready for a customer, realize that all the experience you’ve acquired over the years gives you a mental advantage in preparing that you just might not realize. You never learn from mistakes you’ve never made.
The next time you’re down to the last minute in preparing for a customer, realize there might be a positive aspect in those final moments of preparation. Be open to the fact that a great idea for the customer might be just minutes away.
Stu Schlackman is a sales expert, accomplished speaker and the author of Four People You Should Know and Don’t Just Stand There, Sell Something. With over 25 years of success in the sales landscape, Stu provides his clients and audiences with the wisdom, techniques, and practical advice to compete and win in business and in life. For more information about Stu, please visit www.stuschlackman.com.