What strategy do you use to save time? Maybe you avoid multi-tasking or you automate certain functions. I have another way. Anticipate problems. Here’s how you can save time in sales and also lower your blood pressure.
How do you anticipate problems?
You can save a lot of time in sales (and lower your blood pressure) when you avoid problems. Think about a time, after an exceptionally difficult challenge, when you said, “I wish I had known that before I had to deal with that.”
How do you become aware of problems before you have to address them? You use Six Thinking Hats. The Six Thinking Hats process was created by Dr. Edward DeBono. Each hat represents a type of thinking. Yellow Hat Thinking is for optimism and the best that can happen. Red Hat Thinking is for emotions and whether you like or dislike an idea. Black Hat Thinking is the negative or what can go wrong with a situation. Black Hat Thinking is what most people avoid. This omission causes them to be unable to anticipate their problems.
Ask yourself, for any future situation, what can go wrong. With those answers, develop a plan before you need it. Either remove obstacles before they occur or have a plan ready when the situation arises.
What is your plan for selling when the situation changes?
Sales environments often change. Budgets get cut. People get promoted or demoted. Companies get sold. Are you ready to do your best when your sales environment changes? You can save time later when you are flexible and ready to meet the challenge.
Timothy LeDuc, an Olympic pairs skater, credits his success on the ice because of the years he spent skating on cruise ships. You might not know that there are ice rinks on cruise ships. When you skate on a cruise ship it is very different than skating on land.
“Le Duc said, “If you take off from a jump at a certain point, but the ship is moving, the ice will be moving down or up, depending on which way it’s rocking and which way you’re jumping. So sometimes the ice will show up a lot sooner than you expect or a lot later than you’d expect.” LeDuc’s on ship practice gives him the flexibility he needs to skate well on land.
How prepared are you when there is a staff change at your customer? These changes are often the time when new staff brings in their former team. Your main supporter may now be gone. Could you demonstrate today the value you bring your customers? If not, you have an immediate project to be ready when you face new customer contacts. They will think twice when you show them the value you bring. They might even have doubts that their previous supplier can match what you deliver.
That situation happened to me. The new Vice President had even placed an order with his previous supplier. When I was able to demonstrate the value his new company was getting from my work, he canceled the order and said, “I’m willing to give you a chance.”
I have good news and bad news about sales. There are lots of variables in sales that are in your control as a sales professional. The bad news is that there are lots of variables in sales that are on of your control. Anticipation is the only way I know to prepare you for successful selling when you are faced with those variables that are out of your control.