Pay Time

Most professional service providers, small business owners and entrepreneurs understand the difference between billable time and non-billable time. Billable time is the time that your customer pays for when you’re meeting his needs and non-billable is when you’re doing “work” stuff that you have to do, but can’t charge for, like billing, cleaning your office, making prospecting calls, selling to new customers, getting supplies, ordering stock, paying the business bills or employees.

Today I read a great article on clutter and was reminded of another time concept. Pay time vs non-pay time. Obviously, Ariane is dealing with personal clutter, so it’s not billable, not pay time, it’s personal time. But, if she were dealing with business clutter, whether she was dealing with it on Sunday, a holiday, or the middle of a business day it would be non-pay time. Pay time in my mind is time that is put to activities that are or lead to being billable. Non-pay time activities may be necessary, but should usually be done secondarily.

Here are some examples.

1.) Calling or meeting with prospects, customers, clients, referrals looking to increase sales, good will, or check on service is a pay time activity and gets primary placement in your schedule.

2.) Billable time is a pay time activity and gets primary placement on your schedule.

3.) Working on your website, placing a help wanted ad, doing payroll, cleaning your desk space, picking paint for your office, meeting with a disgruntled employee or your employer are non-pay time activities and should not happen during pay time.

4.) Golf with prospects or clients is pay time. A lesson so you won’t embarass yourself is not.

5.) Lunch with a client is pay time. Lunch at your desk reading a trade magazine is not.

You may need a website, but if your business is a breakfast restaurant, it’s pretty easy to see that you don’t won’t to work on your website while your customers are waiting for their pancakes. Nor would you want your pancake batter salesperson to be bothering you while the place is full of hungry customers.

Sometimes billable time can be moved around. If a lawyer needs to depose a witness from 9-11 am, that needs to take priority over calling prospective clients. However, if a web designer is getting paid to design a website, he may very well be able to be billable between 11 pm and 2 am which turns the overnight into pay time. Obviously, the more billable time you have, the more money you’re gonna make, and the more pay time you have, the more money making activities you’ll be able to perform.

These are some specific personal examples for me.

Notice that I typically write in my blog early morning or late evening. It’s a non-paytime activity for me.

My #1 pay-time is talking to people. So, from 7 am to 7 pm I’m on the phone, in a meeting, at an event where there’s people for me to talk with. Yesterday, I had a staff meeting at Burkinshaw Law. Absolutely important…non pay time activity. I’d prefer to teleconference at 9 pm. My associates won’t go for it. So, I have to give up pay time to do non-pay time stuff (meet with them). Today, I’ll be meeting with the guys at DKA to start the development project for Steve. Absolutely essential, but I’ll have to give up “talking to people” time because the guys at DKA want to see their families tonight. One other example. You know I use email a lot. Mostly early morning or late evening, because from 7 am to 7 pm, I want to be talking to people. Rainmakers do the stuff that grows their business first and email, letters, research, etc. happens when pay time can’t happen.

If you have specific activities that you’d like to ask about, feel free to use the comment link to ask.

Success Secret #3

“Low hanging fruit”. I had heard the term, but hadn’t really tried to apply it to my life until recently. I’ve told the following story to many people, and I knew that it describes an event that changed my life, but I had never put the story and the term together. Here goes.

About 30 years ago, I had a mentor named Bob Jiguere. He taught me a lot of important things, but on this one day, I learned something that he wasn’t really intending to teach. I was in a classroom with several other salespeople and he started by writing the numbers “1” through “10” down the left side of the blackboard. Then he put a check mark by the number “1” and said, “1 out of 10 people will buy anything from anybody.” Then he put a check mark by the number “10” and said, “1 out of 10 people won’t buy anything from anybody.” Then he made a big bracket from #2 to #9 and said, “How many of the eight in between you get will depend on how good a salesperson you are.” Then he proceeded to teach the rest of the people in the class how to be a better salesperson. Everybody but me. I had already learned my lesson and was off in my mind figuring out how to do it. This is what happened in my head. “If 1 out of 10 people will buy anything from anybody, I’m gonna get good at finding them.” I’ve spent the rest of my life looking for easy sales….“Low hanging fruit”.

Think about what that did to my approach. I expected 90% of the people that I talk to, to be more difficult than easy. I disqualified them. My approach was, “Give me a reason to move on.” I didn’t fear rejection, I wanted it. Consequently, it takes me no time to recover from rejection. I may even congratulate them on the originality of their put down before I thank them for their time and move on in my search of a buyer.

Another thing that it did was made me practice, correctly. Many salespeople struggle with call reluctance because they’re trying to close from the first word. If they’re listening (Some don’t. They talk.), they’re listening for buying signals. Too much pressure. Too little chance of success. Listen for reasons NOT to do business. There’s so many more of them. You’ll get your way more often. I have used, “I don’t see any reason that we can’t work together. Do you?” as a close. If they give me a reason, I’ll typically say something like, “You’re right! I missed that.” and prepare to move on. Often enough the buyer tries to come up with a way to handle their own objection and if they do a really good job, “I let them buy from me.”

About the same time that I was in that classroom with Bob, I read a book by Frank Bettger. He noted that if you made 10 calls and earned $X, you could figure that if you made 20 calls, you’d make twice as much, 30 calls…three times as much, and so on……………EVEN IF YOU NEVER GOT ANY BETTER THAN YOU ARE TODAY!

This is not reverse psychology. This is not a move or a trick. This is my way of life. I still talk to more people in a day than most because I’m looking for “the one” and I know that it’s more likely that the person that I’m talking to is NOT “the one”, than is “the one”.

In closing let me point out that with all that practice, I eventually did develop better skills.

Success Secret #2

Remember that I said these were in no particular order? I don’t know where this one ranks, but it amazes me how many otherwise decent salespeople don’t call at the top of an organization. It’s OK to be nice to the receptionist. It’s acceptable to get information from a middle manager. I don’t pitch until I’m at the top.

I was at a Business Expo on Wednesday. I was totally amazed when I overheard the following exchange after I introduced Dan to Mr. Jones, (the company president).

Dan: “Mr. Jones, I don’t do business with your company, but I’ve been trying to.”

Mr. Jones: “Who’ve you been talking to.”

Dan: “So and so, they’ve got my proposal, but they’re not returning my calls.”

Mr. Jones: “Here’s my personal card. Call me personally. I’m at the top of operations and I’ll move this along”

How hard is it to figure out that the person that Dan gave the proposal to isn’t the decision maker? They have to ask permission. In this case, I am especially perturbed. Dan does a lot of things right. Why is he not calling on the company president? Call on the person that can write the check or tell somebody, “Write the check and bring it to me so I can sign it.” That’s my test.

If I’m talking (not pitching) to someone and they ask how I do what I do, I ask something like, “Before we do that, can I ask what do you do about it now?” We have a conversation where we talk about the problems that they have related to the stuff that I do. Eventually I get to ask, “So, pretend we talk some more and you decide, ‘Wow, this is awesome. How much?’ I tell you. You write a check and we do business?” As soon as I hear, “Not exactly.” I am done until I get in front of the right person. I am done. I am done. I am done.

They might say something like show me and I’ll tell the decision maker.  I am done.

They might say something like I make all those decisions.  I am done.

They might say something like we have a committee. I am done.

Nobody can sell my stuff like me. There are dozens of ways to get to the right person and my finger is getting tired, but I will walk away before I will pitch the wrong person. I never hear, “I have to ask somebody else.” and I never want to.

Remember Dan? One of the things that he doesn’t know is that in an earlier conversation, I overheard Mr. Jones telling somebody else that it was his job to say, “No.” If you’re gonna get a no, don’t you want it sooner rather than later? Do you see that if you get a yes from Mr. Jones, it’s probably a done deal.

Don’t pitch, propose, close or even care until you’re at the top and if you can’t get to the top, go prospecting.

Success Secret #1

I say secret, but it’s not. Somebody shared it with somebody else. They shared it again and eventually, somebody shared it with me. I believe some stuff has made me different in a positive way. I’m gonna share them as  think of them. No particular order. Varying levels of importance. As a matter of fact, I’m sure that someday, somebody will read one of my success secrets and think, “That was a waste of time!”. I only hope that someday somebody reads one of my success secrets and enters the comment, “Thank you.”

OK! Success Secret #1. Just Do It! Okay, that’s Nike, but it’ll work for you, too! I was talking with a guy that I really respect and he was telling me about a conversation that he was having with somebody. During the conversation, the prospect gave him a pretty simple stall and my friend immediately knew what to say. It was a great question that was insightful, on point, and would have shown the prospect that my friend was paying attention and that the prospect response was bull! Now, remember that my friend knew what to say.

So, I asked, “What happened when you asked the question?” He didn’t. Why? My friend didn’t want to upset his prospect. He needed his prospect to like him and approve of him. When I asked why he didn’t do it, he recognized that he let his need for approval keep him from doing his job and that he should have asked the question, IMMEDIATELY. So, then I suggested that he use my pen and write on his hand, “If you think it, say it.” He said, I’m not writing on my hand. I asked. He refused. I asked. He refused. I asked. He refused. Then I asked, “How about writing, ‘Why not?’ on your hand?” He said, I’m not writing on my hand. I asked. He refused. I asked. He refused. I asked. He refused. I said, “How about if you write it on a yellow sticky and put the sticky in the palm of your hand? and when you’re talking with people today and they say something stupid, you open your hand look at the sticky. Think, “Why not?” and ask the question that’s in your head?” He said, “I’m not putting a sticky in my hand.”

OK, 2 hours later, we’re networking together. He reaches into his briefcase and pulls out a yellow sticky. On the yellow sticky, it reads,  “If you think it, say it.” “Why not?”. He’s not totally convinced that he’s gonna do whatever it takes for him to be successful, but I see my friend a lot and I want him to be successful. At some point he’s gonna decide that he’s gonna do whatever it takes. He’s gonna step away from his need for approval. He’s gonna do whatever it takes to remember to do whatever it takes even if he has to write it on his hand. He will no longer worry that someone will notice that he writes on his hand. He’ll know longer care because he approves of himself and he will tell me thanks, but I can go now!

If you think it say it!

Just do it!

The Anti-Blog

I’m a salesman and always will be. I’m always ready. I’ll bond with a waiter or waitress. I’ll sharp angle the grocery clerk. I’ll work my boss. I practice on my poor wife. I’ve used my skills to get out of traffic tickets. I’ve used them to buy better. I’ll work anybody, anytime of any day for no reason or for real. I love sales stories. I like seeing my clients “get it”. I’ll trade stories any time any day. I love it.

OK, so the I read Dave’s Blog and I say, “This is cool.” Then I read Pete’s Blog and I say, “Yeah, but he’s Pete.” Then I do it and I have a blog. Then, Pete tells me that if I want to do it right, I have to read other blogs, comment on them, tell you about them and link to them. It adds diversity. It broadens our horizons.

So, tonight you get to meet Patrick Dodd. Patrick appears to be a blogger’s blogger. He talks about how to, who should, why to, when to. It’s all about blogs, blogging and bloggers but with the primary focus being doing it right, being effective and making money. So, he talks blogs like I talk sales. Have fun. Check him out here and tell him that The RainMaker Maker says, “Hi.”

Entrepreneur vs. Salesperson

A salesperson doesn’t need to be an entrepreneur and an entrepreneur doesn’t need to be a salesperson, but when one person has both traits, he often becomes noticed. I checked out Dan Marques. Dan is so entrepreneurial, that he’s almost idealistic. No sweat. He’s young and should be. Nonetheless, check out his blog and try to guess which quote I liked. Incidentally, he’d probably love it if you gave him some feedback. So comment on one of his posts.


The priest started his sermon with,


“God doesn’t love me because I’m valuable…

I’m valuable because God loves me.”


I apologize. I know that I was supposed to be paying attention to the rest of his sermon, but his opening started me thinking about its application in the sales world, especially in the sales world of professional service providers and I stayed distracted.


I am a professional service provider, so I’m gonna use me as an example, but if you want full value from this post, substitute the words, “professional service provider”, or “you”, the reader, every time you see me use a first person pronoun.


Here’s how it got twisted in my head. Pretend that my customer(s) is god (little g). Pretend that I am me. Before my customer agrees to do business with me, I may have little or no value to them. Once they agree to buy, I have value. Once I deliver, my value to them grows again (I hope.). Interestingly, my value to myself does not change during the process. Actually, I should have written “should not change during the process”. It might if I have a high need for approval as described in  Dave Kurlan’s Blog.


OK, so back to it. Value is a cumulative thing. It’s also different things to different people. I’m of infinite value to my mother, so let’s take her out of the equation. I have a value to each prospect, each customer, each center of influence, each friend. I have no value to people that don’t know me and as we observed earlier, my value to myself won’t be affected by the cumulative total of my value to others.


We could talk about who’s got the greater cumulative value and start making an MVP list for the whole world, but I’d rather concentrate on becoming more valuable.


If I have a prospect agree to do business with me, my value to them (and cumulatively to the world) has increased.


If I satisfy a customer, my value to them (and cumulatively to the world) has increased.


If I get a prospect or a customer to refer me (say that I have value), my value to my new prospect (and cumulatively to the world) has increased.


But none of these events changes my value to myself, only to the world.


You might have to read this again and when you do, remember, that this isn’t about me and my God, it’s about you and your prospects and customers. Also, I haven’t talked about how to grow value. I suggest that you go here or read this or email me.

Flexibility – To be or not to be – That is the question.

So, I just read Eric’s post about Flexibility and Firminosity. (Come on. Lighten up.) He’s waiting for some comments. Give him some.

Here’s my 2 cents. If flexibility was part of the deal before the deal was done and everyone agrees what flexibility means, then flexibility is warranted. However, more often then not, it’s a one way street. For example, if we’re looking for a little flexibility on delivery time, client may (rightfully) object. On the other hand, they may be very upset with us if we were to object to their request for “flexibility” in payment terms.

In my opinion, flexibility is a slippery slope and is seldom warranted. Now, please comment on Eric’s blog.

Marketing and Prospecting

I just got Laura’s May newsletter. In it, she draws an analogy between growing corn and marketing. Good analogy.

However, remember that the same analogy applies to prospecting. I worry about my friends that don’t have time to network, don’t have time to call prospects, don’t have time to put new stuff in the front of their pipeline because they’ve got so much in the pipeline and they want to clean it up. So, what do you work on when you clean it up and there’s nothing there. No names in this paragraph. I’m just concerned.

So, whether you’re talking about marketing, advertising, prospecting, exercise, dieting, or most things……….a little every day will show consistent results. Trying to do it all in one day………well read Laura’s newsletter.

Incidentally, isn’t it a nice touch that Laura shows off her work by plugging one of her clients.

If you’d like to receive her newsletter by email like I do, subscribe here.

The best deal

So, I’m driving around this week, using my $3/gallon gas and I hear this on the radio. “Just because you got the best deal, doesn’t mean you got the best mattress.” Those mattress guys can really sum it up, can’t they?

But, think about it. In your world, what is your prospect looking for? Is every prospect looking for the same thing? Is the cheapest always the best deal? Is the best deal always the cheapest? Is the most expensive always the best quality? Is the best quality always the most expensive?

No answers here unless you comment.

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