Procrastination — it’ll cost you dollars!


By Terry Sage, Trades Coaching New Zealand


It’s not often I get on my soapbox and have a real good moan. Well, yeah, I do but not that often, although the kids will tell you a different story of course — and don’t even ask the Mrs!

I also try very hard not to repeat topics on these pages, but today it’s soapbox time, and on a topic which has appeared more than once.

Which, in itself, brings up an interesting point — if I have written about this several times why isn’t anybody listening?

So, what’s got the feathers all ruffled yet again? It’s that painful, costly word — procrastination. It’s been a week of it for me — well, when I say a week of it, it’s more like the week three cases of it all came together for the perfect storm.

Case 1: A client said “what do you think I will get if I sold the whole damn lot?” My thoughtful, well-worded reply was “really, why do you want to sell?” — when I might have been thinking “not a bloody chance mate, you’re a lazy bleep”.

But, truth be told, we could swap out the lazy tag for the procrastination word. The issue has been that this guy has a product/service to sell nationally, and the initial brief was to find one top-class salesperson in each of a dozen zones and go for gold.

Six months later he has had some real bad experiences and is having doubts around the product. Truth is he has just picked the wrong person, so we had to come up with a new strategy.

Rather than just have one gun in each area, we decided to go for lots of average salespeople and figure that the best will shine.

Clarifying the change of heart is the fact that once the sale has been made, that’s the end of the client-salesperson contact, after which the client is then serviced from head office.

So as long as a sale is made, the relationship is then built by the gun service team.

The procrastination is that he was supposed to advertise for the mass sales team eight weeks ago and has not done it, so the sales have been slow, hence the self-doubt.

He got a well-placed kick up the you know what, in the form of a come on mate motivational speech, and the adverts have now been placed.

Case 2: The company lost a salesperson, so the owners decided to save the expense and go back on the road themselves.

When this was tabled, my advice was “really, don’t you think that is a step backwards as you have been moving forward ever since we established the sales team”? Five months later, turnover is going down, stress is showing and they are asking the same questions they were asking two years ago.

Maybe not the a full-blown case of procrastination, but I did ask them to think very seriously about this decision five months ago, and they are only just getting around to doing so.

Case 3 is by far the worst example. It is simply a case of taking five weeks to getting around to making a phone call.

The call is just to invite somebody to lunch and ask for some advice, which he will be oh so willing to give. The advice could make a huge difference in the ongoing launch process of a fantastic product.

I can’t even come down hard on this chap and give him a huge kick as he doesn’t listen that often.

So having to deal with cases 1 and 2 in one week actually gave me the kick I needed to get my own house in order — lunch is booked for next Wednesday.

If you need to do something then get it done because procrastination can cost a company huge dollars.

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