Every sales person/account manager in the machinery industry is under the pump – time is short. No one constantly gets through their to-do list, emails remain unanswered and phone messages are ignored. There is simply not enough time in the day.

In an effort to get it all done, we focus on the urgent over the important. We do this because the urgent is right in front of us…with the urgent behind that.

The solution to this is not time management training or raising awareness (again) about the urgent/important paradigm. Every sales person knows it, but yet very few follow it.

There is a better way. 

It’s not about changing focus (if that worked we wouldn’t have the time issues we currently do), but rather processes. When we are dealing with the urgent we need better processes to ensure that the small amount of time we can devote to an issue is used efficiently.

Take preparation for a sales call. Sales people know they have to put the time in to prepare for the sales call, but few do – they are too busy chasing other things to focus on it. So when the preparation flips from being important to urgent (usually at the time they pull into the customer’s car park) they need a process to prepare in super quick time. 

If they don’t have such a process one of two things happens. The first is they just wing-it. They turn up and kid themselves that they can ‘just be in the moment’ and make the call productive. They’ll make it up as they go and hope to get through.

Customers can pick this, and it wastes their time. We’ve all had the unprepared sales person call on us and we don’t like it.

The second thing that can happen is that they misdirect their focus. They go in to sell what they want to sell, not what the customer wants to buy. They focus on themselves (I’ve got a machine) or they focus on their products (our machines are 5% more efficient than the competition). Neither of these focuses is useful for the customer. 

What the customer wants is a conversation focused on their issues and how your machines can help them. They then want your sales person to lead that sales conversation.

But without a process that can be applied in the car park, your sales team is at the mercy of being in the zone or just hoping the customer wants to buy what they are selling. This is not a good way to run the revenue generation arm of your business.

I’m running a 30-minute webinar on how to over come this issue on Tuesday 26 November. You can register here.

If you can’t make it, I’m happy to send you a recording as either a podcast or link to replay if you like – just register and I’ll send you the link.



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Darren Fleming is a Behavioural Scientist. He is obsessed with understanding why people perform the way they do in pressure situations. His clients see him as a relationship coach for their sales team – helping them give better love to their customers.