The Patience/Urgency Conundrum In Sales

by Paul Castain on February 6, 2013

Whenever I speak at sales conventions, I’ll ask how many people (by a show of hands) are married. Then I ask a really crazy follow up question . . .

“How long does it take for two people to fall in love?”

That’s when you see heads tilting and that look of “Where the hell is this guy going with this?”

So, since I can’t see you, and your look of utter confusion will go unnoticed, let me ask you the same question . . .

“How long does it take for two people to fall in love?”

Is it after x amount of dates?

Is it after your first fight?

Is it after you’ve spent a fixed amount on flowers, candy, etc?

After you’ve met each other’s family? Actually, in some cases, people fall out of love when that happens.

I believe the answer is that it happens when it happens!

That’s where this “patience/urgency” thing comes into play.

We need to have the patience to court the other person and the urgency to work at it regularly and consistently.

Sales is no different!

It’s a “courtship” that can’t be rushed and yet we have to have the urgency to continually work at it.

And yet . . .

Sometimes we show up today, disappear for 6 weeks, come back hot and heavy for 10 days, disappear. We’re here, we’re gone. We’re here, we’re gone.

Would you date someone like that?

I’m thinking marriage might be out of the question?

Do you treat your prospects that way? Clients?

Scorched Earth!

I once worked for a company where we had a monthly quota.

One month, our sales manager told us that he had a “scorched earth” policy meaning that they were either going to buy from him, that month or screw them!

He didn’t just say that, he lived that by getting in their face, ringing their phone off the hook and . . .

He pissed a lot of people off in the process!

In essence, he was looking for the equivalent of a “quickie” when he should have been looking to build relationships.

Perhaps he could have exercised the patience to work at those relationships and simply added the urgency to follow up and work at them.

I wonder if some of us might have this mindset and while we’re unaware of it, it manifests through our actions?

Part Of Our Problem Is That We Just Don’t Think!

For many salespeople, an alert goes off in their crm, and then they make a “seat of your pants” decision and probably default to a “I’m calling to check in” phone call.

Try this instead . . .

What if you were to take the top prospects you are (hopefully) “courting” and took the time to think about each one then . . .

Map out your follow up, your communication your . . .


Then work your plan with the patience to understand that “love” will happen when it happens (meaning don’t smother your fiancé)  but . . .

Understand that you have to have the urgency to work at those courtships and not sit back waiting for “love” to just happen.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

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  • chuck

    I like the analogy. I do this allot on prospects. Start with chocolate and lead up to the diamonds.

  • arlenep1

    You’re so right, Paul, people need to have patience and consistency.  I find this particularly true in networking groups.  So many come and expect to make a sale THAT day.  They don’t realize it’s about courtship … building relationships so people will refer thos they know to YOU.  I have seen this time after time.  People come to one or two meetings and then they disappear.  Then they return a few months later and are surprised that no one is running over to them and thanking them for returning.  When you find a GOOD networking group with good leaders and great members, cherish it and most of all … be committed to it and have PATIENCE to build up those relationships.

  • paulcastain

    Thanks Chuck! And who doesn’t like chocolate :)

  • paulcastain

    I’ve seen the same thing in networking groups too and quite frankly several different place from how we call prospects, social networking, traditional networking etc.

    Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts!

  • paulcastain

    Well said Jeff and thank you so much for taking time out of your day to stop by and comment.
    The challenge is in the way that we are wired as sales professionals.

    We have that urgency to go out and make it happen but we lack the patience to “court”

  • Ken Franz

    I’ve had a few clients buy from me simply because of my persistence and told me so. It was frustrating each time I reached out and they’d put me off. Each time I contacted them I tried to bring something new. The longest took 14 months but was my biggest sale.

  • paulcastain

    Gold star Ken that’s awesome!

    Thank you!

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