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Best Practice # 8: Know How to Overcome Procrastination.

By Dave Kahle

“Mañana.”  It will wait until tomorrow.  There are times when it is so tempting to tell yourself that, and actually believe it.  Clearly, sometimes it is true.  However, when we continually put off for tomorrow those things that could and should be done today, we become less effective today.  And while it is true that it is only one day, the truth is that we will never have that day back again.

If we accept mediocrity in our performance for one day, we will never be able to gain that time back, and live that day over.  And a day wasted can easily become another day, and another, and eventually turn into a habit.  Habits turn into character traits, and character eventually determines our performance.

Procrastination, the character trait of putting far too many things off to be done later, is one of the insidious cripplers of sales performance, lurking under the surface of sales performance, and sucking the energy out of a salesperson’s performance.

The best salespeople guard against procrastination.  They work hard, with discipline, to insure that every day is spent as effectively as possible.  They recognize the temptation, and build tools, practices and disciplines into their routines to prevent themselves from falling prey to it.

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There are proven tools and techniques to help with this.  Scheduling appointments as fully as possible throughout the course of the day keeps you working. If you have an appointment for this afternoon, it’s difficult to put that off until tomorrow.  The best salespeople are in the habit of making appointments for at least the first call of the day, as early as they can, and the last call of the day, toward the end of the day.  That way, the temptation to put something off until tomorrow conflicts with the need to stay mentally in the job until you are finally finished.

“To-do lists,” re-organized at the end of every day, with firm priorities and deadlines, is another effective tool utilized by the “do-it-now” group.  By creating a prioritized list of the things that you must do, and assigning deadlines to each of them, you force yourself to confront the necessity to get things done.

And, of course, the regular discipline of developing realistic goals and attaching clearly envisioned rewards to them is one of the most common devices used by the pros to keep themselves in the moment and on top of their games.

The best salespeople understand that they need to manage their weaknesses.  They understand that their ability to manage themselves is one of the keys to sustained sales excellence.  That’s why they excel at overcoming procrastination.

If you’d like to learn more about this best practice,


For Sales Managers…

Use this rating scale to assess the extent to which each of your salespeople evidence this best practice. 

line scale

Comments:  ____________________________________________________________

To help a salesperson build this practice into a habit,

a.  Share your assessment with them.
b.  Talk about how that impacts their performance.
c.  Refer them to one or more of the resources listed above.
d.  Ask them to commit to a couple of specific changes.
e.  Monitor their progress at a future, pre-determined date.


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