Are you playing for the short or the long game?  We live in a world of instant gratification.  If there’s something we want, boom —  we can have it with the touch of an app, a swipe or heaven forbid the slow way, making a phone call.

This morning while waiting in the drive-through at Starbucks, my app failed. Go ahead and say it. “User error.”  I was low on funds on the app and I couldn’t get a cell signal to connect and reload. In a flash I found myself in the dark ages. That would be BA — “before app” — not BA as in dark roast, although I do prefer that over Pike Place Roast.  (Sorry, just a little coffee detour.)

In a moment, I was thrust back in time to having to pay cash for my coffee. I couldn’t believe how much longer it took to complete the transaction! It had to be at least 12 seconds!  That’s 12 seconds I will never get back. My life has been cut short.

Do you see the irony in my situation?

I’ve come to expect not just simplification, but instantaneous simplification, because in that moment, life was all about the short game and making it happen now.   Is your leadership geared that way?  I hope not. Sure there are moments when we have to lead in the here and now, but we shouldn’t allow that to drive our thinking.

The comments we make to other people we work with and the comments we make to customers — are they short or long-term focused?  A big problem I see with far too many salespeople is they make each customer conversation about the here and now.  This is a big contributor to unhappy customers.

The salesperson who pushes the boundaries too far on what the customer will receive when they make the decision to buy is all shaped in the short term.  The long-term answer is to be clear in the expectations, knowing this sale will lead to the next one.

When we cloak our conversation to fit the short term, we might think we’re doing the right thing, when in reality there is never a decision that is made or a comment shared that does not in turn lead to another decision or comment.  Life and business is a continuum. It’s not a short game. And it’s not just a long game.  It’s a very long game.

We need to approach each day with an attitude that what we do and say today will help us weeks, months and years ahead.   To that end, it means I shouldn’t be  worried about losing 12 seconds in the drive-through.  I should instead be more focused on helping the barista serving me feel good about the job they do and the impact they have on others.

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Copyright 2018, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results

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