By Bruce Keith

When purchasing perishables such as milk we check the “best before” date to make sure we are making a healthy decision. The experts tell us that ignoring the date could be “injurious to your health”.

Sometimes we have prospects on our list who are long past their best before date! Continuing to work with those prospects may not be injurious to our health, but doing so certainly can be injurious to our sales results.

The first part of this sales tip is: Have a look at your existing prospects and see who you should put back on the shelf. By doing so you can now go out and find someone whose intentions are more current. Find the prospects whose best before date is a lot more attractive.

The second part of this metaphor is a question you need to ask yourself: Have I passed my best before date? Am I out of date? That’s a scary question, isn’t it? Here are some ways to find out:

  1. Is my marketing out of date?
  2. Are the scripts I use out of date?
  3. Are my presentation skills out of date?
  4. Is my daily schedule out of date?
  5. Is my lead generation approach out of date?
  6. Is my approach to social media out of date?

All great questions. Take a look at what you are doing on a daily basis. When is the last time you updated each of these items? Are you staying current? If not, you run the risk of your potential clients putting you back on the shelf. If your business has dropped off in the last six months, take a second look at the above points. There are answers in there that will turn things around for you very quickly! No excuses.

Who sets the agenda?

Recently I was reminded in a blog by author Seth Godin (Linchpin) that “the job of the CEO isn’t to check things off the agenda. The job of the CEO is to set the agenda, to figure out what’s next.”

This is a very important truism. Sometimes we forget how the business world is changing. One thing that is changing is more and more, we are all becoming CEOs. Whether you are an independent contractor or an employee; whether you are a sole proprietor or a “cog in a wheel”, you really are your own CEO. As a salesperson you are definitely in the position of being your own CEO. This then begs the question, who is setting your agenda… you or everyone else?

As CEO of your own operation, it is critical that you set the agenda. How to do that? Here are some examples:

  1. Are your mornings under control or are the “snakes” always out of the box?
  2. Do you take pride in your ability to multitask? (Trust me, this is not an asset.)
  3. Are you in “react mode” or do you look for new sales opportunities daily?
  4. Do your customers respect your time? Are you afraid to “fire” bad customers?
  5. CEOs follow a business plan… do you? Do you track your results and adjust your activity accordingly?

A good way to start making some changes is to follow this mantra: “My activity and my energy are centred on what I WANT instead of what everyone else expects of me.”

Taking this approach is not being selfish. Taking this approach means that by looking after yourself first, you are looking after what is most important first. Everyone wins. Goodness will follow for both you and your customers. No excuses.


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