Little Things Count!


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As I was hanging up on a call with a new prospect today, the prospect said something that caught me off guard. He said, “Dave, I want to thank you for calling me right on time. So few people do that, it’s important to me and tells me a little about your professionalism. I really appreciate your respect for my time.” It really caught me off guard, I think I mumbled something like, “Thank you, I thought everyone did that.”

His comment is interesting. I notice it myself the same issue myself. Someone wants to sell me something, we agree on a time to talk, the appointed time arrives, the minutes tick away, eventually the call comes in–perhaps 5 minutes late, maybe 10 minutes late. It’s always accompanied by a pro-forma apology, and the pitch begins. But I’ve sat around 5-10 minutes waiting for them to find the time to talk to me?????

I may be obsessive, but people say they can set their watches based on the time I call them. If someone has scheduled a time to let me speak with them, or to speak with me, I think it’s important to meet that time commitment. Is there something wrong with that? Today, everyone is time poor. Time is one of the most valuable things to each of us–making sure we don’t waste people’s time is important. It’s not just about having something valuable to say, but it’s about respecting their time.

It’s also about meeting commitments. I’m like everyone else, sometimes, I get pushed behind schedule, and I’m late to a meeting — but rarely. I always feel really bad about it because I’ve missed a commitment. To me a time commitment is as important as a commitment about a product or service someone is trying to sell me. If a person consistently cannot meet their time commitments, is that an indicator about their ability to meet their other commitments?

“But Dave,” you say, “we can’t help that–our customers are late to meetings, we get pushed behind schedule, that’s just the way things are these days. No one starts on time–and it’s only a few minutes.” That’s true, our customers may not have the same sensitivity to our time as we would like–but what kind of excuse is that? It’s our responsibility as sales professionals to meet our commitments—period! I know as, I plan my day, people will run behind schedule and be late. So I add buffers to my scheduling. But just because my customers may be late, that’s no reason for me to be late. Interestingly, punctuality and meeting commitments rubs off. As people know that I call when I’ve committed to call, or be someplace when I’ve committed to be there, they change their behaviors and start doing the same. We respect each other’s time, we respect each other meeting small commitments.

The small things do seem to be important. It seems to me that doing the small things right also makes sure the big things are done right. Am I being too hard nosed, or does this make sense?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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