I remember being a new salesperson many years ago, ready to charge headlong and non-stop toward my undefined image of success. As I became more experienced, I realized that I was trying to run a marathon at the pace of a short distance sprinter; I came to realize the importance of pacing oneself.
Eventually, I was able to find better balance and appreciate that slowing down actually allowed me time to do more. I started to ask myself “Who are the higher potential opportunities?” Fortunately, I realized early on that not all clients are equal. While it is important to treat all people fairly as human beings, when it comes to providing services that cost money to support, some clients simply aren’t the right fit to make it worth spending too much time with them. Who was I spending too much time serving that were unprofitable?
I realized I could trade small concessions like bigger discounts for less frequent visits or larger orders placed less often freeing me up to spend more time on bigger opportunities. In rare cases, some clients simply were not worth spending time with at all – I had to let them go. After all, good strategy is deciding what not to do.
In the end, both as a salesperson and later as a sales leader, I came to realize that only a small percentage of reps do enough of the right things, in the right balance, to be successful. Of all the lessons I have learned, the most important was understanding the value of setting boundaries both within the sales role and in life. Spending time on high payoff activities ensured a better chance of success. Teaching myself how to disconnect so that I could maintain a healthy personal life ensured I had the energy to help reach both business and personal goals.
As a sales professional, understanding the need for boundaries allows us to be true to our self.
While this article focused on boundaries around time and client profile, we must also be in harmony with the values of the company, the integrity of the clients we choose to serve and the impact of the products or services we provide.
If we are out of alignment with our moral compass or stressed by unreasonable expectations, our boundaries will be tested and our energy will be drained; whereas, knowing we are contributing to something better in a balanced way creates energy. Happy selling.