If there was one thing for which I was known for as a day-to-day sales manager, it’s that I locked the door at sales meetings. I know it might seem old-fashioned in the age of high tech and work from home. But promptness counts and being on time is the most important thing you can do as the team’s leader.
I’ve had numerous arguments with reps over this one. If you can’t get out of bed in the morning, then you can’t see your customers in the proper frame of mind. If you are lazy coming to the office, then maybe you should go home and start over. It all comes down to having the desire and the motivation to excel at whatever is required of you. It all comes down to motivation. Whether you are a manager or a salesperson, motivation comes from within, not without. Motivation revolves around risk-taking, passion, drive, and commitment. It takes all of these things to reach your potential, either in the field or in the office.
Even if you’re not an American football fan, you can still appreciate the detail that Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, had a concise list of rules for his players. Among them was this one: “Never be late for meetings.” To his players, “on time” meant 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. Fifteen minutes early came to be known as “Lombardi time.” As Coach Lombardi would say, “I believe a man should be on time, not a minute late, not 10 seconds late. I believe a man, who’s late for a meeting or late for the bus, won’t run his pass patterns right.” Lombardi was known to have released some of his best players, even first-round draft picks, when they couldn’t make his meetings on time.
Who stands a better chance of getting the business from the customer or the prospect, the sales rep who is there five or 10 minutes early or the sales rep who is late? Getting a leg up on the competition is one thing, but something we lose sight of is that when you are early for a meeting it gives you a chance to concentrate on the task at hand. It allows you to take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths, to review your presentation, perhaps to scan their trade journals as you sit in the lobby -- and there are still trade journals in the lobby. How many times have we rushed from one appointment to the next only to lose our sharpness for the upcoming call? If we are late, what are we really saying to the customer? He or she is not important enough to warrant a little extra pre-call planning and preparation? Who gets the edge when you are on time and your competition isn’t?
You Are The Clock In The Center Of The Wall
In demonstrating getting to appointments on time, I have used the story of a physicist by the name of Hugans, who performed experiments with pendulum clocks. He wanted to find out if a number of clocks on a wall with their pendulums all swinging at different rates would become synchronized. What he found out was that by leaving the clocks on the wall by themselves, they eventually became perfectly synchronized. He also found out that the clock in the center of the wall was the one that had the greatest impact on all other clocks. It’s the same thing in your organization or sales force. When everyone is one time, everyone is synchronized. You, as a manager or salesperson, can have just the same effect as the clock in the center of the wall, whether it is in your personal life or in your business life.
Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for Luce Performance Group International and can be reached at email@example.com or www.luceperformancegroup.com. You can find his new book The Liquid Fire on Amazon.com.