Sales Focus

The Clock versus the Speedo

Let me tell you a little story about what happened to me the other day.

I was heading to the train station to catch the train back to Sydney. I live on the coast about 2.5 hours drive south of Sydney. The train trip is not express, taking about 3 hours, but it is very picturesque as about a third of the journey is along the Pacific Coast. That's why I often take the train, to enjoy the scenery and spend some time reading.

The trip to the station takes about 25 – 30 minutes. I left home about 45 minutes before the train was due to depart.

As luck would have it I encountered road works on the way, rain and then the subsequent traffic jam.

So, my seemingly adequate travel time was now looking just barely enough. To make matters worse as I was driving I realised that the next train was 3 hours later. That would mean I would either have to miss my first two appointments or keep on driving all the way to Sydney and possibly miss my first meeting.

As I approached the station it was touch and go, I had about 5 minutes before the train departed, I was several kilometres away and I had to park the car and buy a ticket. I really wanted to be on that train.

As I came down the road where the train station was, a car turned out in front of me from a petrol station driveway and stopped in the middle of the road. I didn't stop, in fact I didn't even slow down, I just swerved around the car.

A split second later, it happened.

That fateful flash in the rear view mirror. 
I had been booked for speeding by a camera radar.

How could that have happened ?
It was a FIXED camera.
I knew it was there! 
It had been there for 5 years!
I had driven past it 100 times!

I'll tell you how it happened;
I was watching the clock and NOT the speedo.

Now, what's this got to do with sales?

No, it's not about leaving to make the sales call earlier so traffic doesn't make you late.

It's about focus, sales focus.

When you are in a sales call where is your focus? 
Is it on the clock or the speedo?

Let me explain. If I had been focused on the speedo and the road conditions at the time, I never would have been booked for speeding. Remember, it was raining. Remember, I knew there was a radar trap on that street.

My lack of attention to the speedo cost me.
In fact, it could have cost me a lot more.

The car that pulled out in front of me and stopped had actually broken down. What if the driver had jumped out of their car to investigate without looking? I would have paid dearly.

Let me tell you, if you are not paying attention to the road conditions when you are in a sales meeting you could pay a price as well.

You need to be focused on: 
the customer, 
what's in their office, 
how has the company been performing, 
are the staff you see about the place happy or grumpy or frantic,
did the client have a good weekend, 
is the prospect healthy or sick.

And, all the time you are in the sales meeting keep an eye on the speedo. 
How are you travelling? 
Is the client with you or is he/she bored? 
Are they interested? 
Are they alert and attentive to what you're saying and demonstrating?
Have you overstayed your welcome?

What roadblocks are in the way of you making a sale? 
Do you think you should just swerve around them like I swerved around the car that pulled out in front of me? 
What price could you pay if you did that?

Remember, I was focused on the clock. 
The clock represented what I wanted, what was going to be a problem for me, my agenda.

Let me tell you, if that is your focus while you are in a sales meeting the clients will smell it like a shark smells blood in the water. They will know you are only interested in your agenda and have no interest in their wants and needs. They'll lose interest in you and your offer faster than banks put up their charges.

To put it another way if you are too focused on your objectives, the goals you want to achieve and the problems you seek to avoid, then you'll miss a lot of what's there around you. You may react inappropriately to a roadblock in the way of the sale. And most of all you won't be focusing on the speedo, how the meeting is going, how you are being perceived and how interested your client is in your offer. 

The lesson is clear. 
Forget the clock, put your agenda aside. Keep your Sales Focus on the conditions, how the meeting is travelling and be prepared to deal with obstacles accordingly.

Keep your eye on the speedo and have a great year.

And if you need help keeping an eye on your speedo feel free to contact me for some sales coaching.

Here's to YourSalesSuccess.

Click here for another article like Persuasion article No29.