The first step in getting more done is realizing what you need to accomplish. Once you have a clear mission, you will realize that many of the tasks that now occupy your time are actually keeping you from achieving your goals.
Let’s take a look at an example of linking your mission to your actions. Think of a customer you could not move off the fence for weeks or months. Perhaps they purchased. Perhaps they did not. Either way, the process was a waste of your time. Even if there was a sale hanging in the balance, think in terms of the opportunity costs of lost time. Calculate how many hours you spent on this transaction.
The perpetual shopper can consume hundreds of hours of your time. The more time you spend with the customer, the more likely you will feel obligated to keep going to receive a return upon your investment. But what a cost! Hundreds of hours to achieve a paycheck of _____?
More significantly, how much could you have earned had you spent these hundreds of hours marketing and working with more productive customers? In reality, the hours that you are spending with shoppers are actually preventing you from marketing and developing relationships that would be much more productive.
So what do you do with the shopper? First, you might accomplish a more thorough job of assessing their goals and needs up front. Perhaps you are encouraging unprofitable relationships by forcing action when the potential customers are not psychologically ready. Simple questions regarding their goals might give you a clue to their intentions. Ask about their last purchasing experience, how long have they thought about purchasing, have they searched before and not purchased and if so, what has changed at this juncture?
Should you fire these people? Of course not. Nurture the relationship by giving them goals to meet before you become actively involved. If they insist upon monopolizing your time without a reasonable chance of return benefits, refer them to someone else who would appreciate such a referral–perhaps a neophyte.
Chances are those who are less experienced have much more time on their hands and can use the experience to learn. What better way to learn customer service and negotiation skills than on live customers. Perhaps you may be entitled to a referral fee if they get lucky.
We’ve said this over and over, but can’t stress it enough, time is our greatest resource. Every day we waste our time in a variety of ways. If you ask every business person for a self-assessment, almost all of them would reply: I need to manage my time better. In the next segment we will become more specific by adding pointers that may help you conserve your most precious resource. If we have more time, we can make more money–with less stress. Certainly that is not a bad goal!