Solving the problem of “too busy to sell”
Pay-off: if you or your team do this, you’ll no longer be ‘too busy to sell’
Investment: 3 minutes
We’re all busy.
But the busiest of all of us; those who are expected to sell who find it really uncomfortable.
These people take ‘busy’ to new levels. After all, they’ve got client projects to deliver, documents to perfect, mis-diagnosed proposals to produce, admin and internal systems to create, desks to tidy, and then somehow they must also find some time to invent more stuff to do so they can just avoid engaging people in sales related conversations.
Luckily though, they’re efficient enough to get through all of this craziness and still get home in time to watch the Walking Dead box-set! Phew!
I’ll stop there and remove my tongue from my cheek. (Maybe not for long, pal.)
Calling out the nonsense
Honestly, this post is not to pick on people who feel uncomfortable and under pressure. In fact, it’s to help these people.
But I work with smart, headstrong people who in most situations have a good radar for ‘nonsense’ from other people. And they detest such nonsense. (You know who you are if you’re reading this.) And so I’m calling this nonsense out right now, in case you missed it. Then I’ll share some workarounds.
Behind your version of ‘busy’
First, I acknowledge that you’re busy. I get that. But I hope, on your way home one evening, you’re making some time to be honest with yourself.
Are you failing to engage clients or prospects in efficient sales related conversations because:
- you’re genuinely too busy? Or…
- because you’re actually a little uncomfortable?
I’ll help you decide; if you’re reading this, then you’ve found some time in your busy schedule haven’t you? Ah! So it’s 2 isn’t it!
That was easy.
Look, I’ve spent years now working with ‘non-sales’ professionals (professional services, management consultants, engineers, accountants and so on) who are expected to contribute to growing theirs and their client’s businesses, but who didn’t sign up to ‘sell’ and who generally don’t see themselves as this sort of person.
And I’ve spotted patterns in their behaviour…
A quick, confident diagnosis
I can say, with total confidence, that if you consider yourself a professional and you think you’re too busy to sell, then your approach towards working with your clients needs to change. And you must change it.
If you’re genuinely too busy…
If you’re genuinely ‘too busy’ to better serve your clients by engaging them in conversations that improve their business, then your personal model is wrong.
When I learn how people who are ‘too busy’ approach developing business, I quickly spot that many are busy banging their heads against the wall. Busy being ineffective.
Perhaps they’re not qualifying clients properly and working too hard for too little return. Perhaps they’re not creating proposals that hit the mark and thus wasting their efforts on a poor conversion rate. Perhaps they’re firing 100 bullets when they could learn to snipe with one? Perhaps they’re missing small windows of opportunity to ask a client one extra pivotal question? Or perhaps they’re overpromising and are now too busy working hard to hit the promised standard — a lack of clarity at the sales stage and hence another sales related problem.
If you’re unconsciously making yourself too busy…
But if you think you’re ‘too busy’ but in fact, you’re subconsciously busying yourself to avoid sales related conversations, then it’s a discomfort thing. Nothing wrong with that, providing you admit it.
Either way, when professionals who should be contributing to growing theirs and their clients’ businesses tell me they’re too busy, I don’t hear those words.
I hear, “I’ve got an ineffective approach to sustainably develop my business and career.”
Once you acknowledge that, we can have a new conversation.
How to solve the problem of being too busy or too uncomfortable to sell
Either reason for feeling too busy to sell is fixable. We can explore proven ways to switch discomfort for more comfort — even enjoyment (one technical consultant I’m working with who recently picked up the phone and brought in a substantial amount of new business said to me, “I felt so much more alive than I do when delivering my usual work.”) When they find a way, they like it.
We can explore and try out new ways that work more easily than the approaches you currently know.
We can explore how rather than threatening your professional image in the eyes of clients, you can conduct yourself in such a way that builds more credibility and respect than ever before.
Consider that every hill or mountain looks big when you’re at the bottom looking up, but as you progress it becomes easier, the rewards kick in, and your perspective opens up.
Then consider that maybe this particular hill is one worth taking steps towards right now? Just a step or two each day for the next 6–12 months will have you and your business in a very different place.
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Originally published at MarkMoore.co.