Comparing apples to success – and buying back time.

Comparing apples to success – and buying back time.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. If that were true, everyone would eat an apple a day, right? Wrong. Some people would put it off and then try to make up for it by eating two the next day. Does that mean you can eat seven apples on Sunday night and still keep the doctor away? Of course not, that’s not how it works. To keep the doctor away, you must eat one each day. Simple.

In sales, it’s the same a sales follow-up a day keeps the sales manager away. But salespeople often wait until Sunday night to cram seven apples. Some wait until the last day of the month to eat thirty. Instead of doing small daily success stuff like database updating, sales call planning, follow-up letter writing, and even order submission they put it off even though it would help them succeed. Duh. I don’t get it.

My friend, seminar promoter, seminar giver, and the best student of personal development I know, Theo Androus, is an expert at the obvious reflected by his seminar stage name Dr. Duh.

“I was promoting a seminar for Brian Tracy on Advanced Selling Strategies. The program was scheduled for the last day of the month,” exclaimed Theo. “Any guesses as to the objection I heard the most? OK, objection is a nice word, let’s call it what it really was: the excuse I heard most? ‘But Theo, that’s the last day of the month, we all have quotas to meet. The last day of the month is the busiest day around here.’ Oh really? Did it ever occur to you to get your quota met by say the 20th of the month? Duh.”

Raise your hand if you procrastinate. Those of you who didn’t raise your hands are just putting it off until later. We all procrastinate. Salespeople are experts at this. (This article was due three days ago.) Quick self-test: If you’ve ever rationalized with, “I’ll do it tomorrow”, then you procrastinate.

“But Jeffrey, I do my best work at the last minute,” you say. Oh really? Cramming at the end never works. Remember college? The kid who studied every day (the one you hated) got way better grades. He just ate an apple a day.

Speeding up at the end to make up for lost time never works, ask any rabbit.

The challenge for salespeople is to become “do it TODAY and everyday” professionals. Here are Theo’s six things that, if done on a daily basis, will propel you above and beyond your goals.
1. Prospecting.
2. Networking.
3. Follow up calls.
4. Thank you notes.
5. Exercise.
6. Self-improvement.

Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, the father of America Tae Kwon Do, the 65 year old legend who trained with Bruce Lee and who still does 1,000 pushups per day, says that there should be no time elapsed between the moment you have a thought and the moment you take action. Thoughts must be translated into action or they are worthless.

Androus paints this picture: You have lunch with your best client. When you get in your car to leave, you take a moment and hand write a note referencing the lunch and things discussed. On the way back to the office you drop the note in the mail. Wow. Simple. Easy to do. Easy not to do. Do you do it? Does it make a difference? Do it for a month and then you decide.

We know what to do as sales professionals, we just don’t always do what we know. When you develop a Do It NOW (today) attitude, you can get done in minutes what used to take hours or never got done. You actually “buy back” your own time. WOW!

Now, what will you do with this new extra time? That’s up to you. If you took a moment to evaluate how you spend your time right now, it would make you sick. Squandered opportunity and wasted energy accounts for the majority of a salesperson’s day. (Except for you, of course.) The time actually spent in front of the customer, or on activity that supports the sale is minimal.

Add it up. If you waste two hours a work day, that equals ten hours a work week, that equals 500 hours per fifty-week year. That’s more than twenty full 24-hour days. Yikes, and that may be an understatement. That’s 50 ten-hour work days or ten weeks vacation. Wouldn’t you rather take that time off all at once? Imagine, work hard for forty weeks and then take ten off. Would you sign up for that plan? Duh.