To return salespeople to their most important task of making proactive sales calls, here are two solutions for dealing with the “Other Stuff” that gets in the way.

1. If you have given, or are tempted to give, anyone who has proactive sales responsibilities, other things to do — don’t! There is always a greater cost than meets the eye. Look just a little bit beyond the urgent issue at hand to the consequences of this in the larger scheme of things. The small thing you ask someone to do will inevitably expand to something larger, and the impact of the lack of proactive sales efforts will be felt down the road.

If you are a salesperson who has other stuff to do, try to hand it back to your manager or pass it on to someone else. Be ruthlessly jealous of your selling time, and try to allow nothing to interfere with it. Be very careful about accepting responsibilities that detract from your core focus. Remember, whenever you say “yes” to something outside of your core focus, you are saying “no” to something at which you are probably better, and that will make you more money and be more fulfilling. In today’s hectic, multi-tasking world, it is more powerful to say “no” than it is to say “yes.”

2. OK, you can’t do that. For whatever reason, your sales personnel must also do other stuff. It’s time for Plan B. Keep the division between the two sets of competing responsibilities as clean and sharp as you can. So, the other stuff should be well defined, have clear guidelines for completion, and be limited to a specific period of time.

So, for example, don’t say this: “John, we want you to do this other stuff.” Instead say, “John, I’d like you to spend half the day every other week doing this other stuff.”

By keeping the divisions clear between the competing responsibilities, you limit the damage done by other stuff expansion.

In the long run, it’s those organizations and individuals who focus on the core tasks and don’t diffuse their efforts who succeed. Don’t let “Other Stuff Expansion” rob your organization of its potential.

Dave Kahle is one of the world's leading sales authorities. He's written 10 books, presented in 47 states and 10 countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of salespeople and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Educate, motivate, and inspire your sales force by having Dave speak at your next meeting. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine, and to access Dave's training, insights and tools online, visit The Sales Resource Center.

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Trivial Tasks Distract Salespeople