Stop. Think. Assess. Reflect.

As we head into Q4, it’s tempting to forge full steam ahead... There are deals to close, orders to take, customers to thank... It's easy to get swept away in all of it, especially with so many things going on outside of the office as well.

If you really think about it though, there is always a lot going on, isn't there? It's just that as the year heads toward its close, our calendars are largely filled for us instead of by us. That lack of control manifests itself in your mindset. I think it's vital to your success (and your sanity) to take some of that control back. Here's a simple way to do that...

Stop. Think. Reflect. Assess.

It's so simple, you probably haven't even considered it as a viable option.

I was reminded of this when I interviewed Alice Heiman for The Why and The Buy. Salespeople lose so much of their own productivity and effectiveness when they don't take the time, even just a few seconds, to think about what they just accomplished in a meeting or on a call. I believe it's a huge reason why sales processes stall. Follow-up is terrible and so many sales are lost to the status quo.

Think about this for a second... According to CSO Insights, almost a quarter of B2B sales are not lost to competitors, but to no decision at all! That's astounding. Companies would rather not act than make a change. If they're interested enough to go through a process with you, but then decide to stay put, that's not a solution issue, that's a salesmanship issue.

In addition to not "reviewing the tape' From their previous sales calls, many sales pros will walk into their next meeting without a pre-defined purpose for doing so. Setting an objective for a sales call is literally one of the easiest things you can do to make yourself a more effective seller. However, it requires that you stop and think about it…

I love the way James Muir states it in The Perfect Close. There are three questions a salesperson should ask themselves before every sales call...

  1. Why should this client see me?

  2. What do I want the client to do?

  3. How can I bring value to this encounter?

How often do you think in these terms? Probably not very often. Most salespeople I know are too busy "out doing some prospecting," "closing a deal," or worse, "just checking in..."

Let's talk about the next couple of weeks. How many of you will be "just stopping by to say thank you and drop off a small gift"? The sentiment is genuine, and the generosity is laudable, but most of those opportunities are wasted because of the lack of intention.

If you're stopping by to drop something off, then you're squandering an opportunity with a client to move the ball forward. Anyone selling for longer than five minutes realizes that those opportunities are fewer and farther between these days.

Don't get me wrong, not every sales call should be a full court press, and I've never been a pushy or aggressive salesman. However, I think a lot of salespeople take this time for granted instead of looking for ways to keep their pipelines moving. What's that box of baked goods or company branded chocolates really going to do for you? Oh, that's right, you bought the good stuff, so it definitely won't be on the bottom of the pile in the lunchroom...

Think about this though... If you've got something worth talking about, and you're thinking about how to bring value at every turn, then why do you need to back off, or turn down the juice on your sales calls in December? Your customers need more solutions and great ideas than cookies and candy, regardless of what month the calendar says it is. Bring value every time, and people will thank you.

Stop. Before you move on to that next call or jump back into one of your inboxes, reflect on what just happened 

Think about what you need to happen next.

Reflect on your past experience when you've been in these situations before.

Assess the best way to move forward from here.

Hustle is not about doing more than anyone else. It's about finding ways to be more effective than anyone else. Sometimes, you accomplish that by slowing down.

Jeff Bajorek