Respect the Clock

Success stems from good timing

The phone rings at 4:58pm. I answer it because usually when someone calls you at the end of the day like this, either they are returning your call or they just got something hot for you. Either way, it’s supposed to be a good call, one that you want to take.

But this time, it was some guy who’s a friend of a friend of a friend with something that he wants to offer me but it has to be over a meeting because he can’t really explain it on the phone. And it has to be tomorrow because his deadline is this week. Sales 101: Don’t be an idiot. If you’re going to make the call, have something to say. Sales for Kindergartners: Timing is everything. Be respectful not just of yours, but of mine, too. I don’t owe you a meeting just because your clock is ticking.

Be persistent, but don’t be a stalker.

A keen sense of timing is the basis for success. Everyone knows the basics: Return all calls/email within twenty-four hours, provide requested materials as promised, be punctual… But it’s most important to have a sense for your clients’ timing, especially when prospecting. Find out when their interest in you will be greatest. Follow up as promised. Be persistent, but don’t be a stalker. And never, never never never, hit someone with a last minute urgency. Especially if you don’t know him.

Can’t seem to make this happen? Join us in 2009 and use a calendar that beeps repeatedly at preset intervals before a scheduled item. Get to work an hour early and/or stay an hour late for some quiet time dedicated solely to planning and getting organized. If all else fails, and you really cannot get it together, hire your own assistant! Dig the change out of the couch and pay a college student to be your time manager so you stay on track. Not willing to do whatever it takes? Remember: Success requires a no-holds-barred approach. It’s an attitude that permeates everything you do. If you’re not willing to commit to your responsibilities, no one is going to commit to giving you more. Happy mediocrity!

Networking Nabob is winner of first and second place awards from the Press Club of Long Island. Pat can be reached, but not solicited, at

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