How often do you show up for meetings "a few minutes late"? Those "few minutes" are damaging your reputation and costing you money.
A while back in my sales blog I listed three sales resolutions you could make to increase your numbers in a new year. Here's one more to consider adding:
Be on time. Every time. Starting now.
I know, I know. You're busy. You don’t mean to be late, but stuff comes up.
When you show up late, you raise a big question in your client's mind. Brent Beshore of Forbes says,
"Your punctuality says a lot about you… If you can’t keep your calendar, what other parts of your life are teetering on the edge of complete disaster?”
Your clients are busy, too. Stuff comes up for them, too. When you show up late, you are telling them that your stuff is more important than their stuff.
You are also costing them money. As Beshore points out in Forbes:
"Let’s consider a scenario where five people are holding a meeting at 2 p.m. Your sauntering in ten minutes late just wasted 40 minutes of other peoples’ time. Let’s say the organization bills $200/hour. Are you paying the $133 bill? Someone certainly is."
Make a habit of this, and you will pay the bill in lost opportunities.
Here are four steps you can take to drive lateness out of your life:
- Stop trying to bend the laws of physics – don’t schedule by “wishful thinking”. If your first appointment’s at 8:00, the meeting is projected to take an hour, and there’s a 30-minute drive to the next call, you won’t get to the next one by 9:15.
- If your client has multiple locations, double-check the address. During a television revenue initiative in California, we arrived 45 minutes late to a meeting with significant revenue potential, because the client was at one of his clinics and we went to the other one across town. We did not get the revenue.
- Download directions in advance. In the age of Google Maps, there is no excuse for getting lost on the way.
- Build in time for “stuff happening.” There will be traffic. A meeting will run long. 30 minutes of unscheduled time in the middle of the day can save your afternoon.
A Special Note to Sales Managers
"I hate bringing my managers on calls," a very successful radio account executive confessed to me last year. "They're great people, but they always make me late."
His managers were overscheduled. Meetings back to back. Spreadsheets due at corporate by close of business. One more email to return… and then another one… and then another one.
Often, he told me, someone would buttonhole the manager on the way out of the office, causing a 10-minute hallway conversation… and a 10-minutes-late arrival at the customer's office.
"I've learned to come up with an excuse for going in separate cars," he said. "That way at least one of us will be on time."
If this sounds like you — and it is a phenomenon I witness often on the road — what message are you delivering to your sellers?
Punctuality means respect, and respect will earn sales. The most effective salespeople, and sales managers, in any industry show up on time.