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Sales Consulting & Sales Training:

Acting on Opportunities

Having a Sense of Urgency

“Act quickly, think slowly”

- Greek proverb

It’s 4:00 and the day is starting to wind down… imagine, if you will, the thoughts of the following individuals:

The Customer

Well, I just left a voice mail for an account manager at Paragon Publishing.  I really need to get 1,000 copies of their book, The Essential Coding Guide for our entire R&D department.  The problem is, I just got this request today and I need to get these ordered before I leave since I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow morning.  You know, now that I think about it, I have a connection of Libris Distributors who can get these ordered for me today and shipped to us while I’m out.  I’m going to give him a call…

The Sales Rep

I just got a phone call but I’ve been putting off filling out this expense report for two weeks. It’s going to take me a good hour to get this done and I really need to finish it so I can meet up with my buddies at Gordy’s Pub. I’ll just let the phone ring through to voice mail – I’m sure it can wait until tomorrow morning.

This type of situation happens all the time. Having a sense of urgency is so important if one wants to succeed in sales. As many will tell you, you need to strike while the iron is hot. This applies to prospective clients but also to those existing customers who probably have additional funds they could spend on a company’s products or services.

The consequences of inaction can be devastating. In the previous example, the sales rep could’ve literally picked the phone and had a “laydown” customer place an order that would equal his quota for the month.  BUT… the expense report was more important, right? Wrong!

In order to provide yourself with a leg up, it is important to act quickly and provide a client with what they need, faster than they need it. Imagine a client saying that they don’t need a proposal until the following week. The rep pushes off the proposal until the end of the week since the customer is in no hurry. In the meantime, the customer receives a call from a competitor who builds a great proposal and then personally hands it to them… all before the rep even opened up the proposal template. Who is the client more likely to choose?

I recently had a prospect talk to us about a substantial training effort for over 300 people in their organization. While talking to the client, I found out that we were one of three companies competing for the business. The day after our initial conversation, I set up a conference call with the client to review our proposal – a full two days before it was actually expected. When asked for thoughts on the proposal, the client immediately commented on the speed and thoroughness of what was provided. What about the other companies? Well, the biggest competitor was not thorough and the second one still hadn’t provided the customer with a proposal. What I did with the client was to set the bar. In fact, my goal was to set it so high that the other companies would be racing to catch up to our proposal. 

As a sales professional, you need to have a sense of urgency to provide yourself with a competitive advantage.  Some of the things that should not be put off include:

·          Returning phone calls or e-mails

·          Supplying information to unanswered questions

·          Providing material and literature

·          Writing “thank you” notes

·          Sending “thank you” gifts

·          Delivering proposals

·          Answering the phones in a timely manner

·          Visiting client sites

·          Asking for the sale

During the time that you hesitate, circumstances can change that can cause you to lose a sales.  Requirements may shift… competitors may move in… people can change jobs and lose/gain responsibility…

Having a sense of urgency should be part of your modus operandi. Strike when the iron is hot to increase your sales and lock out the competition.

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