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May 2017

Procrastination Positives

procrastinationpositives.jpgRemember those good ol’ days back in college when you knew finals were 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 was inevitable. You were left cramming for exams and scrambling to finish your projects.

Panic would set in and you wondered how you let this happen, swearing you would be disciplined as the semester was coming to a close.

Why do so many people wait until 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.

But while procrastination may lead to a last minute, stress-filled scramble, it also has its advantages. 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.

Sometimes quantity is better than quality. The quantity of ideas you have can lead to new ideas that are more 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 weren’t playing sports. You’re more productive when you’re 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?”

As a sales professional, you’re the quarterback on the team for your clients. You’re responsible for touching or leading every aspect of the opportunity. You must be involved in crafting the proposal, making the presentation, understanding the customer’s needs, and even understanding their credit situation. You’re 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 silver lining in those final moments of preparation. Be open to the fact that a great idea for the customer might be just minutes away.

Good selling.

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.”

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