Most adults try to get a good eight hours of sleep. Great salesmen and their great managers rarely fantasize about that long a stretch. Here's the problem: You've heard forever that sales is a numbers game. It's true, but I probably think of "numbers" differently than some others.
The conventional wisdom is that the more people who you see, no matter what your closing ratio, the more you will sell. I believe that the more people who you see, because you've correctly targeted them through research and have something meaningful to talk with them about, the more people to whom you can credibly offer your help, and who will buy what you represent. And those great sellers, who have mastered that art, a) don't believe that they've yet mastered it and so keep practicing and b) have much research, thinking and calling to do, and never enough time.
Here: Invite every salesman and manager with whom you are familiar to your online IM contact list. Get a great night's sleep, let's say on a Monday night. On Tuesday, set your alarm for 12 midnight and after it goes off, re-set it for 1:15 A.M. and then again for 2:15 A.M. Each time it goes off, stumble over to your computer and here's what you'll find. The small number of people "online" will decrease at each interval, as will their reputations for greatness. At 2:15, only the superstars will be on. But not all of them. The superstars that aren't on will be fighting the flu, or have passed out from exhaustion.
The other "time eater" is the inherent conflict between the necessity for a tenacious adherence to a well strategized plan for growth, and the need to be remarkably nimble, and thus open to tweaking the plan. Just like our clients, if we don't innovate, it is too easy for our competitors to successfully create game changers that work against us. Moreover, our clients need to keep up with, and on top of, the ever changing landscape they live in, and the more we do that for and with them, the more valuable we are. And the creative process? Well, it goes on and on and on. Ask Jerry Della Femina. "No sleep for you!"
So what about living a good balanced life, you ask? If you love your work, and are making extraordinary contributions to all who are affected by your efforts, I think the balanced life takes care of itself. Would your kid(s) rather have three hours a day with your well rested miserably unhappy self or half an hour with the best of you? Would you rather be well rested with a .357 magnum touching the roof of your mouth during most of your waking hours, or pleasantly satisfied and tired after a productive day/night at the office?
Bob Sherman has 40 years experience managing relationships between media companies and advertisers in old and new media from radio, cable and TV to the Internet, and from sales executive to chief executive and from the biggest media corporations to his own entrepreneurial companies. He is currently in partnership with Pilot Group, LLC. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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