The JF Guest Author Spot
I received an interesting e-mail from Doris, a mortgage loan officer in New Mexico, who is facing a common problem: "Paul, I work for a small mortgage company that doesn't provide us with any marketing materials. I spend a great deal of time creating stuff and end up not spending nearly as much time as I should actually be prospecting. I believe the quality of the materials I use reflects on me and the quality of work I do, so, I want to make sure they are the best I can do. But this is very time consuming. I know you used to be in the mortgage business, so I'm wondering if you know of any places on the internet where I can get flier and direct mail templates that will help me spend less time designing and more time prospecting?"
Doris is by no means the only salesperson who believes they face this dilemma. Many, many salespeople believe that they must have a ton of well-designed, high quality collateral material in order to successfully do their jobs. Consequently, like Doris, they spend hours and hours designing leave behind and direct mail material to the determent of their prospecting activity. Sooner or later-often sooner-they find that they are out of the business because they have no prospects.
There are several ways to successfully handle this situation. First and foremost, you must recognize that the activity of designing materials is nothing but an excuse to not prospect for many. They use the activity of creating collateral materials as a substitute for the hard work of finding prospects. It is mentally and emotionally easier to engage in the non-threatening activity of collateral material design than it is to face the very real prospect of rejection while prospecting.
Activity replaces accomplishment. If you're busy, it's easy to convince yourself that you're working hard. The "getting ready" becomes the objective. You go home "feeling" that you've put in a good day's work. Yet, you've accomplished nothing that will put sales in your pipeline.
If you must make a decision between seeing people and creating leave behind material, the choice should be simple-see people. Collateral material doesn't sell. You do. Collateral material doesn't identify prospects. You do. Collateral material doesn't put sales in your pipeline. You do. Collateral material doesn't generate your commission check. You do. And you do these things by identify and seeing prospects.
This is not to say that good collateral materials shouldn't exist or be used. It is simply to say that if you truly face a choice, choose accomplishment over activity. The activity being the busy work of creating leave behind material and the accomplishment being prospecting and putting real sales in your pipeline.
But you can have both-high quality collateral material and a great deal of prospecting time. Simply spend your prospecting hours prospecting and evenings and weekends when you aren't prospecting creating the materials, you want. For many, this is an impossible solution. Not because they don't have the time in the evening and on weekends, but because they will refuse to give up their "free time" to do these activities.
Sales isn't a 40 hour per week occupation. To be a top producer, you've got to be willing to invest more time than just your typical 8-hour day. You've got to push the non-income activities into non-income producing hours-and that means those hours when you can't be engaged in prospecting or selling.
You only have three activities that make you money-finding prospects (prospecting), turning prospects into clients (selling), meeting client needs (managing your client's purchase). Anything that doesn't fall into one of those categories should be done outside your prospecting and selling hours.
If you're unwilling to spend the time outside of your selling hours, then your only real alternative is to hire a graphic designer. The problem is that if you're spending your time designing collateral materials, you probably can't afford to pay a graphic designer, because you probably aren't making a great deal of money. Top producers don't spend their time designing collateral material-they spend their time selling and managing their clients. So, if you're in Doris' situation, you aren't, almost by definition, a strong producer.
Most leave behind material is really nothing but a crutch for the salesperson. If you must have the materials, spend some evenings and weekends designing a couple of decent pieces and then get to work. "Don't," as the great UCLA basketball Coach John Wooten used to say, "confuse activity with accomplishment." Activity can be measured in how quickly it takes you to fail in sales; accomplishment can be measured by your pipeline and paycheck.
Paul will also be a senior member of The Global Sales Council, which is now at a very advanced stage of formation - more soon. - Ed
Today's News: Don't know if you have noticed but there is definitely a lot of PSCD (Post Seasonal Celebrations Depression) around right now - but not in my backyard; we are firing on all cylinders and we have hit the ground running this year. I have so much news to share with you shortly, just be patient "You are such a tease Mr Farrington"
Tomorrow: We launch "JF Reviews" - the long awaited JF book reviews and also your chance to download one of my ebooks from the JF Winning Series, sponsored by SalesNexus, for FREE
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