"My customers don't have as much time to spend with me as they used to." That's a comment I'm hearing more frequently in my sales seminars. It's a growing phenomenon. Your customers used to be able to spend more time with you. But lately, it seems as though they are on tighter schedules and are harder to see. You just can't spend as much time with them as you'd like, because they're pressuring you to move on.

This is a real Information Age issue. You know how confused and pressured you feel these days. Your customers feel the same way. As pressures brought on by rapid change, growing competition and the need for every organization to become more streamlined and efficient have hit your customers, many of them have reacted by trying to make everyone more productive. As a result, your customers have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it, just like you. Time, more than money, is the precious commodity of the Information Age.

It's not that your customers don't like you, (although they may not) nor that they are not interested in your products and services. It's just that they have too much to do, and simply don't have as much time to spend with you as you'd like.

This development is truly ominous because the implications strike to the heart of your ability to perform for your company. Let's think for a minute about the value you bring your company. Why do they employ you? What do they really need you and other sales people to do? If you were to boil it down to its most fundamental level, you'd probably say that your company needs you to create relationships and spend face-to-face time with your customers.

Here's another way of looking at it. Suppose you were to make a list of all the things you do in the course of a week. Then look at the list, and ask yourself this question, "How many of those things can be done better or cheaper by someone else within my company?" If you answer honestly, most items on the list can probably be handled more effectively or efficiently by someone else.

But, the one thing that you do that no one else can do as effectively as you is interact with your customers. It's the face-to-face, person-to-person interaction with your customer that is the heart of your job, the core of the value you bring your company.

That's what makes this challenge ominous. If you can't spend quality time in front of the customer, your days as a successful salesperson are numbered.

Dave Kahle is one of the world's leading sales authorities. He's written twelve books, presented in 47 states and eleven countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine, His book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been recognized by three international entities as "one of the five best English language business books.” Check out his latest book, The Heart of a Christian Sales Person.”