Prospecting Avoidance

Professional salespeople know when they wake in the morning they have to do the one thing that is sure to guarantee an income:

Prospect for new business.

In a way, salespeople begin everyday looking for a new “job”, don’t they? Because without a new client to purchase what they’re selling, how is there any any hope of a paycheck in the future? Even if that salesperson is a salaried professional, without showing results for their employer, there’s no guarantee the employer will continue to employ that salesperson.

I think therefore, we can agree that a professional salesperson, whether commissioned or salaried, knows that prospecting for new business is the number one priority for their days, each and every day.

That’s not to say they all follow through on the actions necessary to prospect. “Prospecting avoidance” is a commonly understood malady in the sales profession. Sales Managers everywhere constantly harangue their sales teams to hit the pavements, ring the doorbells, make the calls, set the appointments, to fulfill the promise of prospecting.

Avoidance of prospecting comes out of the simple psychological fear of rejection. We all have it. Besides, as simple as prospecting can often turn out to be when you actually do it, it can also be as difficult to initiate.

It’s no wonder then that business owners who are NOT professional salespeople may suffer from this very disease of prospecting avoidance. The creative excuses people come up with to avoid having to make prospecting calls are legendary. Yet, as the owner of your business, unless you have a professional salesperson or sales team working for you, you must must, must, Prospect for new business.
The only way to overcome your avoidance of your emotional pain about Prospecting is to simply attach a level of importance to this task.

We hear so often from Business Owners of being distracted with other important tasks: making payroll; attending to a malfunctioning machine on the shop floor; taking a call from the accountant/attorney/spouse/pesky customer/excellent customer/number one account/printer/fleet mechanic and on and on and on.

The Business Owner has attached a level of importance to each and every one of these tasks. Attach that same level of importance to Prospecting. You must. Absolutely must. Your business health, wealth and survival depends on you doing so.

Once you make Prospecting as important an activity as any other in running your business, all those other avoidance afflictions melt away into nothing. Fear of rejection disappears. Procrastination towards your Prospecting Plan converts to an optimistic sense of urgency.

And, yes, you may even like Prospecting.

It’s a Goal to Set a Goal

Let’s face it, it’s a goal to set a goal; and 2019 is almost here!

It’s work. We know it’s daunting to track goals and stick to a plan.

We also know, and this is very important, having a goal and not meeting it could generate feelings of failure and/or rejection. This could set us back and cause resistance to maintain momentum. 

If you think about it…what’s the resistance in setting a goal?

Goals present opportunities, and creating opportunities could mean income to your business. That is….IF building your business is a GOAL!?

Goals are INSPIRING.

There are many different activities that make up your role in your business. There are things you love to do and things that are for the greater good of the business that may not be your favorite part of your day/week/month/year. 

Schedule tasks, make a contest with yourself or team members, reward yourself when finished with a task. Something, anything that will motivate you to want to work on those tasks/activity that will help accomplish the goal.

Let’s embrace what we do and not be afraid of it.

Goals build CONFIDENCE.

Now that we’re motivated and working on tasks that inspire us, this will build confidence. 

When we’re inspired, we FOCUS on the task at hand. And this will help us work smarter to achieve a goal. 

Confidence propels us to be the best that we can be…and maybe even have a little fun while doing it.

Goals are CHALLENGING.

This is where it gets fun. We’re inspired and that builds confidence. 

How about building in a little challenge. We call this getting out of our comfort zone. Competition builds character.

Think of a triathlete. They track their activity and their time to know how they can train to be faster and stronger.

Goals keep us ACCOUNTABLE.

The movie A FEW GOOD MEN includes one of the most memorable movies lines in movie history.

Jack Nicholson’s character Colonel Jessup, when pressed for the truth, bellows: “You can’t handle the truth!” 

I say that you can handle the truth. Tracking your activity will cause reason to celebrate when you achieve the goal. That, or help to pivot and/or redirect our focus so we’re working to our strengths. 

Have you considered an accountability partner? Some people, and I am one of them, need external forces to stay on track. Whether it’s a weekly call or you’re checking in on a private Facebook page, knowing you have to divulge your activity or divulge the lack of activity, this may motivate you to have something awesome to report.

Set those goals; you can handle it!

The ROI of Doing Nothing

Often, when a business-owner invests in marketing, they want to know when they will see a return on investment. It should be a question and a concern; it would be cavalier to dismiss otherwise.

However, when a business-owner finally realizes that marketing is key to new business development, some think that results rapidly occur. It doesn’t work that way.

Besides considering the cost of marketing, the time before profit is realized remains uncertain. In my experience of running a business and investing in marketing, a person skilled in sales considers budget, cost and equally as important, the confidence that the potential solution could be a cure to stagnation.

It’s hard to quantify the loss of income when nothing is being done to attract new business. It’s not unusual that, sometimes, we spend a lot of time rationalizing not investing a few dollar to make more dollars.

Did you ever go to a networking event, meet people, get business cards and never follow up? It happens! We spend money to attend the event, gas for the car and lose quality time with family and/or personal endeavors. The ROI of dong nothing equals nothing.

As a licensed insurance person, it would be tough to write insurance if I thought “that person doesn’t need insurance” especially when they have insurance because I know they own a car, a home, and a business. 

Do you like tea? If you do, you know that when you make tea, you don’t drink it immediately after pouring the hot water into the tea cup. You have to wait for the tea to steep so it maximizes the ingredients and flavor of the tea; otherwise it’s just hot water.

Marketing is like tea. it takes time. Besides needing money to invest in marketing, we need patience to develop a reputation. You know what costs money? A reduction in new business while overhead continues to increase.

Don’t be cheap, steep! Then, enjoy one sip at a time. 

Procrastination: Friend or Foe

It took me almost 6 months to write this. Then, a month to edit…
So, I get it about procrastination, and time, and getting to it.

Don’t you love irony?

However, I think procrastination gets a bad rap considering the benefits it can have. Did she say “benefits”?

Yes, I did. Wait, how is procrastination a benefit?

Let’s not wait a moment longer. Let’s begin with definitions. First, there are a few definitions that could lead us to believe in the negative aspects of procrastination.

Merriam-Webster has a definition that definitely made me feel guilty:

to put off intentionally and habitually; to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done

But then, Oxford and Cambridge made me feel a little better. According to their definitions, a delay doesn’t mean “game over”.

the action of delaying or postponing something, and
– to delay doing something

Let’s start with an obvious example of bold procrastination, one with which I’m all too familiar. 

As a business-owner, a website is something most of us consider in order to drive traffic and more business our way. But the size of the project can be overwhelming, and so, we delay. You know, a delay in a bad way that validates that procrastination has a negative connotation. 

What could be the cost of delaying this website project? The cost of procrastination is the lost opportunity for not being found on the internet. I may be crazy, but I also think that the worst kind of statistic is the unquantifiable amount of how much business is lost by not being found on the internet.

When you consider the potential cost of lost opportunity, you return to the idea of getting it done. But it’s still an overwhelming idea and a potentially huge project. But there is a way to deal with the overwhelming part, AKA the thing that leads us to work against our own best interest.  

You don’t have to habitually put off this project according to the first definition above. Instead, you can choose the more positive second definition: delay, postpone. Delaying the project doesn’t mean it will never get done. And, in that delay, you can search for the solution you need to get this project done. 

What’s one reason that makes this project overwhelming? The idea that you have to go it alone!  All those tasks, all that responsibility, it’s a whirlwind of anxiety that builds up a wall of resistance to get it done, just like in the first definition.

But you don’t have to go it alone. You have control over the delay, you have the power over postponement.

What are the some of the solutions we have control over? We could hire a website expert to help. A professional has the skills necessary to take your vision and to organize and prioritize the project.  All of a sudden, that thing you’ve been avoiding is moving along, albeit maybe slowly.

With the help of an expert, you can then address key tasks such as robust call-to-action methods and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to attract a target market. The tasks of developing a vital products and services summary and blogs will demonstrate expertise and credibility. Feels like control, feels like something’s getting it done.

What happens if you can’t afford to hire someone? It’s a catch 22, isn’t it? We have to build our business to make money to reinvest back into our business, but we have to implement marketing strategies to build our business to make the money to reinvest.

We could be too busy, too busy making excuses. And those excuses bring us back to the negative, inappropriate definition of procrastination. We were doing so well! Excuses don’t affect anyone but us, but let’s be careful about complaining. No one likes a complainer when it’s something within our control of accomplishment. 

Now, what you’ve been waiting for. Let’s get excited why procrastination can work in your favor. It’s not a coincidence that it’s easier and shorter to explain.

One of my mantras has always been “Procrastination is a time management strategy.” What do I mean? 

Let’s imagine we have to prepare for a very important meeting or project, it’s a week away. We know what we have to do; we know the date and time of the meeting. Time is of the essence. If you were to leave it until the last day, then yes, we are guilty of procrastination. Or are we? 

Procrastination can be about planning, preparing and prioritizing. The key word is PRIORITIZING. Just because you’re putting off something, doesn’t mean you’re procrastinating. 

One thing I have found is that when I attack a task, sometimes I need a break to let the creative juices flow, to present another perspective. This gives time to create and edit along the way. It’s called PROGRESS. Have you ever gotten the advice to “sleep on it” when you’re pondering something or unsure about how to deal with an issue? 

This is no different, except we can call that Positive Procrastination!

Rushing to finish is stressful, not to mention overwhelming. And we already know where that can lead. But, if you start in phases it gives you time to review and edit and triple check your work. Starting doesn’t always mean finishing.

Starting means planning on how to have the best finished product. 

Procrastinate away as long as you know how to manage your time and the deadline.