Selling countOne of my favorite cartoons shows Opportunity in the form of a woman wearing angel wings speaking into the intercom of an apartment building lobby to a tenant and the caption says, “It’s Opportunity, Mr. Jones. It’s Opportunity. I only ring once.” I was reminded of this while teaching a time management program to salespeople at GE Capital.

Time is everyone’s currency. Spend it well and it rewards you. Waste it and it costs you. You only get a few opportunities to sit with any single prospect or client. Make every second count.

Haste Makes Waste (Trite but true)

If you skimp on prep time for a call, prospects will notice immediately, feel insulted or annoyed, clam up, or at least share only minimal information with you, and get you out of their offices faster than you can say, “Have a nice day.” Question to ask yourself:  Are you doing the right things during the time you spend planning for your calls to ensure the best reception to you and your business?

If your conversation fails to get into anything deeper than surface needs, you will end up presenting ideas and solutions that are off the mark or have the sticking power of snowflakes hitting hot pavement which will generally lead to smaller deals or no deals at all.  While you don’t want to be scripted, you do want to have a conversation that is both substantive and moving forward.  Ask yourself: Do you take the time to think through how you will execute a strategic conversation with each person you meet?

If you run from one account to another, you will be very active, but not necessarily very productive, missing opportunities to cross sell, up-sell, and build competitively resistant moats around your clients. Developing $500,000 from two accounts is generally much less wear and tear on you than developing fifty accounts of $10,000 each. . Do you take the time to figure out how you will develop long-term business?

“Slow Down. You Move Too Fast. Got to Make the Morning Last” (Simon & Garfunkel)

I could go on, but you get the point. As much as we all love technology and our various tech toys, there are still only 24 hours in a day. In today’s world where everything moves faster and faster, I suggest it is better to slow down, get your bearings, and take the time to polish your skills, strategies, and attention to detail so that clients will want to spend their time–and money–with you.


Anne Miller is a leading presentation and demo specialist, speaker, and coach who helps people in high stakes situations win business, sell ideas, and rally others to a cause. For more information and free ebook, visit www.annemiller.com