"The common man is not concerned about the passage of time, the man of talent is driven by it."
People ask me how I came up with the name, The Sales Whisperer®.
I tell the story of how I was watching The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic channel in 2006 and Cesar Milan said
I rehabilitate dogs and train their owners."
That immediately made me realize our similarities.
I rehabilitate salespeople and train their sales managers."
As part of that rehabilitation, I teach salespeople that prospects behave the way you allow—and even, encourage—them to.
Wait. What, Wes? You're saying I ALLOW prospects to be late, miss meetings, and overall treat me like crap? Are you out of your mind?"
No, I'm not out of my mind. Yes, that is what I'm saying.
Case in point:
Rachel Rofe is a prolific writer, podcaster, and entrepreneur whom I have followed on Twitter for many years.
A while back she shared this Tweet:
Had 3 meetings in last 2 days & all 3 were over 30 mins late. About to make a "5 minute" rule where I peace out if someone's late. GRR"
To which I responded,
Tell them, 'I have you down for 3 PM Tuesday. Should I pencil that in or write it in ink?' That gently nudges them to be on time."
This brought a smile to Rachel's face, my face, and her Tweet as she responded,
Hehe, I like that! Thanks. ;)."
If you are a consultant/coach/mentor/counselor, your time is your product.
Someone showing up late or taking more than the allotted time is LITERALLY like walking through the
grocery store, busting open a milk carton and a package of Oreos, eating half the box, washing them down with several chugs of the milk, dropping them both in the middle of aisle seven—CLEAN UP ON AISLE 7!—and complaining that the store is a mess.
You can't resell that stuff.
It's wasted. Gone.
Thrown away. Can't get it back.
Just like your time.
To Succeed In Sales You MUST Have a Sales Process
So if clients/prospects are continuously showing up late you need to look at two things:
- Are you somehow signaling to your clients that your time is flexible and that it is OK for them to be late?
- Are you afraid to set firm appointments with your clients?
What do I mean by "signaling" flexibility to your clients? Pay attention to the words you use and the tone with which you deliver them because words mean things!
For example, do you ever say things like,
- "Anytime between 2 and 3 is fine."
- "Just call if you're running late."
- "I'm open all morning."
- "I have an 11 O'clock call but I can push it back."
How strong are those phrases?
How committed and driven and motivated do you sound? Does your doctor say "swing by when you can?"
Try that with an Apple store. If you're more than 5 minutes late they cancel your appointment! (Maybe that's why they're near their all-time high while the rest of the tech market is suffering.)
Be Not Afraid To Set Sales Appointments
What do I mean by "afraid?"
Because business may be a little slow or we think a prospect could be a "whopper" or we don't want "word to get out that I'm hard to work with" we don't put our foot down when setting firm appointments and that is completely bass ackwards thinking!
Because Apple makes a quality product and provides great service I make sure I'm on time when I set an appointment at their Genius Bar.
Because our family doctor is the best in town and is super busy but provides personalized service we get to the office on time so neither of us has to wait.
Your clients will think the same thing of you assuming you are good at what you do (you're reading this so you're obviously wise!) and you provide value above and beyond your fees.
So pay attention to your words, set firm appointments, tell your prospects you have a meeting right after their scheduled time so they must be on time.
If they're 15 minutes late for an hour meeting then see them for 45 minutes and bill them for the full hour and document it.
Remember, you're the consultant, the PROFESSIONAL service provider.
Act that way.
Now Go Sell Something!