Doctors primarily deal with people who are sick. They typically don’t spend very much time with folks who are perfectly healthy, unless it is for a routine physical.

In addition, they focus a large portion of their business day directly in front of patients. When visiting your doctor, typically you would sign in at the reception desk and present your insurance information, then take a seat and wait for the doctor’s assistant or nurse to get you. You would then proceed to a room where the nurse would take your vitals as well as ask numerous questions regarding your health, as well as why you are there to see the doctor. Then, you would wait for the doctor to come in and diagnose your medical issue and recommend a course of action.

Could the doctor perform all of the tasks in his office, in addition to the most important task of diagnosis? I’m sure he or she would be capable of checking in patients, as well as performing other diagnostic duties that the nursing assistant does. But does that make for good business? For example, if doctors performed every task in a given day, they may only be able to see seven patients instead of 12. Would this be a good use of their time? Would it generate more revenue for their practice? I don’t think so.

So, you ask, what does this example have to do with professional sales? I’m glad you asked. Productivity, not activity, is key to long-term success in sales. This means it is imperative to spend our selling time in front of legitimate prospects and not waste valuable selling time on people who most likely are not in a position to buy. Just like a doctor, your objective is to spend as much time as possible in front of prospects who have legitimate problems that you can solve with your product or service.

I would encourage you to take some time to think about how you can be more productive. Perhaps it makes sense to hire a part-time person to do some research on your behalf to uncover more legitimate prospects. Or maybe have someone make calls, send emails or post on social media platforms on your behalf? Regardless of the specific strategy, I believe it behooves you to uncover new ways to put yourself in front of folks who are ready to buy now.

Don’t hesitate to invest money to generate solid leads. Instead, look at the potential return on your investment. For example, if you invest $5,000 to generate a solid lead resulting in a $10,000 profit, I would say that is a sound investment.

A good example of this philosophy is AltaVista Strategic Partners in Baltimore. The company provides a monthly service to identify as well as vet sales leads for its clients. They have a large database of potential customers and do all the heavy lifting in terms of email campaigns, social media marketing and digital marketing  to uncover fully vetted prospects. AltaVista only provides legitimate prospects who are ready to purchase, resulting in extremely high close rates. As you would expect, sales productivity rises significantly when partnering with companies like AltaVista.

Just like a doctor helps patients with physical ailments, you as a salesperson help clients solve business problems. And the best way to do that is to spend the necessary time and money to put you in front of prospects who have a problem you can solve.

So let’s try to be more productive and operate more like a doctor!


Proverbs 28:19-20

Work your garden-you’ll end up with plenty of food;
Play and party-you’ll end up with an empty plate