Friday, March 26, 2010

What Avoidance Behavior is Holding You Back?

Today's economy demands you do more with the time you have - make the most of it with this advice from sales expert Art Sobczak.

Picture the sales rep who spends two prime hours every day online, and reading trade journals, the Wall Street Journal, and more, "so he can be well-versed, just in case someone asks questions."

And the rep who feels obligated to assume ownership of all minuscule customer service
situations--ones easily delegated--because she wants to be certain they're handled correctly. And her call productivity suffers as a result.

Or, the salesperson who is always fixated on one "big deal" devoting tons of time--at the expense of placing other calls--working on the proposal.

Know anyone like these people? ARE you one of these people?

If so, you are flat out avoiding something. And probably denying it.

There are all kinds of avoidance behaviors. Whenever I get particularly ambitious around the house...tightening things, replacing filters, by the way, I'm the most un-Home Depot guy in the history of males) it is a sure sign I should be parked in front of a computer, preparing for a training program or writing articles.

What non-sales activities do you engage in that steal from your productive selling time? Or, what call behaviors do you practice that are not as effective as what you should do?

For example, some reps insist on just asking a few questions during a first call, "touching base" on a second call, then phoning a few more times before finally getting into the meat of selling. They rationalize that they're building a relationship. Bull. They're constructing a fat follow-up file.

Sure they're busy, but it's like running on a treadmill. Lots of sweat, but no forward progress. Oh, but they're building "relationships." Not so much.

Here's one way to deal with avoidance behavior.

1. Make a commitment to improve. If you don't have that "want to," read no further.

2. Pinpoint what you know you should do, but don't, or don't do it often enough.

3. Identify the activity or behavior that you rationalize as important, but deep down you know it's a mask. This is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself.

4. Determine what activity or behavior you will replace it with. For example, calling higher in an organization, asking for the bigger sale earlier, sending out fewer proposals to only the more highly qualified prospects, or spending less time internally chasing down answers to questions and delegating more instead.

5. Set specific, quantifiable, time-sensitive goals. Write them out. Any time is a great time to start, especially as we approach the new year.

6. Take action. Track your progress.

7. Reward yourself! What gets rewarded gets repeated.

So why wait? Don't avoid it any longer. Take some action, any action right now that you've been avoiding. You'll be glad you did.

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing "rejection." See free articles and back issues of his weekly emailed sales tips at


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