Are you working hard, but not working smart? Are you spending time becoming somewhat successful, instead of investing your time wisely and reaping a full harvest? Have you fallen victim to one of the fatal mistakes salespeople make? I call this mistake “muscling.”
A Potentially Fatal Fatigue
Essentially, muscling is overestimating the value of doing and underestimating the value of delegation. It’s doing everything in the selling process yourself—whether it is necessary that you do it—and delegating nothing.
Clearly when you're doing everything, you're not nearly as productive as you could be. Even when you have a priority-centered standard of success in mind, your selling days can still get out of hand. You can still be tremendously unproductive.
That’s because changing your paradigm of success is only half the battle. To truly begin to reap the life you most desire from your selling efforts, you must do more than merely work hard with the limited time you allot yourself each day. Unfortunately, that’s all many salespeople do.
When muscling becomes your selling mode of operation, your selling muscles become increasingly fatigued, you find it hard to maintain your selling energy, and you eventually begin to break down your selling strength to the point of permanent depletion. And when that happens, it’s very difficult to revive your selling stamina or maintain your emotional enthusiasm to continue selling.
In fact, you could theoretically work only forty hours a week and still fall victim to muscling. That’s because muscling is essentially having to try too hard in order to succeed in sales—whether that translates into having to complete thirty tasks over eight hours or fifty tasks over fifteen hours.
Think of muscling in this light. Different jobs have different responsibilities. Your job as a salesperson is to sell. And regardless of your product or service, a highly productive selling business requires you to take on only two responsibilities:
Building trust with the right prospects
Adding value to existing clients
When it comes down to it, every necessary task that arises apart from your top two responsibilities as a salesperson can be delegated. Such action is necessary to truly build up your sales business instead of breaking it down.
However, many salespeople still spend hours every week on nominal tasks. Many salespeople are still trying to do it all. As a result, they’re working much harder than necessary to sustain sales success.
Now, I know what you might be thinking: Then how am I supposed to do all the things that need to get done?
There are, without a doubt, many necessary tasks that come up in the process of setting prospects’ expectations and meeting clients’ needs, and the tasks must be completed.
But I am telling you that in order for you to do away with the mistake of muscling in your sales career—in order for you to avoid sales burnout—in order for your sales business to flourish—you need to spend as much time as possible on your top two selling responsibilities. And that will require delegating some tasks that have occupied your workdays.
Determining To Delegate
Beyond that initial discipline, removing the mistake of muscling from your selling career begins when you take an honest inventory of how you are spending your time.
There are many ways to take inventory of your time, but I’ve found that the most efficient way is to pause at the end of every working hour and record how you spent the four fifteen-minute increments that have just passed.
Don’t get bogged down with insignificant details when you’re describing tasks. Just record the gist of how you spent each particular fifteen-minute increment, and do this for at least three working days.
Don’t Waste Your Time
Making the mistake of muscling is not simply the act of wasting time; it’s the act of spending time unproductively. It’s doing everything instead of just the most productive things. And the truth is that if you tallied up the amount of time spent on the top two selling responsibilities in the example, you would find that only about 25 percent of the total time worked was spent on the most productive selling tasks.
And in the dog-eat-dog world of sales, investing one of every four hours on your most productive responsibilities just won’t cut it. Sure, you may be working hard and exercising a strong work ethic, but many other salespeople in your sales arena are doing the same thing—and those who are the most successful are the ones who are spending most, if not all, of their time on their top selling responsibilities.