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Sales Strategy
Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Stop Procrastinating!

This is certainly a call to arms we’ve all yelled at ourselves at one time or another. Certainly, procrastination is a part of human nature. If you need proof, just look to the popularity of those social media memes about trawling Facebook for hours or having an urgent need to deep dive into Wikipedia instead of completing one of the 100 items on your to do list.

While we might all have a giggle at it, procrastinating is a pretty destructive habit when it comes to meeting your quota and sales goals. Finding the source of your procrastination is an important way to overcome it. Follow these strategies to help you stop procrastinating and make every minute count towards hitting your sales goals.

Strategy One: Break Down Tasks into Manageable Bites

The number one reason we procrastinate is that the task looming ahead seems big and unmanageable. For example, last time that monthly report was so onerous it took you over two hours to complete. Now, you keep putting off starting this month’s because it just seems so unappealing. One great strategy to overcome this is to think of the task in steps and stages rather than as a whole. Getting started is often half the battle.  Break the task down into 15 - 30 minute chunks and begin the first chunk RIGHT NOW. Often you’ll find that this is all you need to get in the zone and you’ll go on to complete the whole thing. If not, stick to your plan, get the first chunk completed today and then the next part tomorrow until the task is done. You’ll feel less guilt because you are working towards your goal and this will make the task seem more manageable and less daunting next time around.

Strategy Two: Set Yourself Tight but Realistic Weekly Goals and Deadlines

Every sales pro will have parts of the job they love and can’t wait to get stuck into...and parts of the job they basically wish didn’t exist. The latter are the parts that we just love to procrastinate over. If you just hate cold-calling or the idea of entering data into your CRM leaves you cold, it’s time to set yourself some tight deadlines. Again, it’s human nature to leave things to the last minute, but if you set yourself short term goals and deadlines, you create a sense of urgency that will spur you on. At the start of each week set goals and deadlines against your to do list. E.g., 50 cold calls by end of day Wednesday. Then, hold yourself accountable.

Strategy Three: Face Your Fears

Sometimes the reason that we find ourselves procrastinating is down to an unacknowledged fear around that task. Perhaps you’ve been putting off that follow-up email because you’re worried if it’s not perfect you’ll miss your chance with that important new prospect. To avoid procrastination, take an honest, hard look at the task in at hand and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is it about this task that I makes me feel worried or uncertain?
  2. What’s the worst that can happen?
  3. What can I do to avoid this?

Often, simply acknowledging a fear can help you face it. Having a strategy in place to avoid negative consequences can give you the confidence to go ahead and take action.

Strategy Four: There’s No Time Like the Present

All too often, it’s the small tasks that we neglect that build up to something overwhelming.  Avoid this by getting into the habit of the two minute rule. If something will take you two minutes: DO IT NOW. Perhaps it’s generating a new PO for a client or submitting a sales order; by doing it the moment that short task arrives, you’ll avoid stockpiling a tonne of admin work that will come back to haunt you later.

Everyone is different and there are a plethora of reasons that we procrastinate. But by getting to the heart of what’s stopping you get started, you’ll be able to find the appropriate strategy to help you stop procrastinating and make every minute count towards hitting your sales goals.

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