Starboard Commercial Real Estate

Hans Hansson | September 28, 2005

You are a successful salesperson who is accustomed to year after year of solid sales performance. Suddenly, a personal distraction occurs that derails your efforts. What can you do to prepare for the inevitable day when you lose a loved one, face a personal financial loss, or experience a health crisis that will require you to divert your attention from your day-to-day business?

In sales, unlike in other professions, if we divert our attention from current clients and future client opportunities for any amount of time, we are pushed back to the starting point. If you are accustomed to a certain lifestyle as a result of being a top sales performer, the prospect of starting all over could be daunting, if not devastating.

A personal loss can have a compound effect when you are away from your business long enough to kill it or severely damage your ability to maintain a high performance level. A 20-year broker recently lost his daughter. The fight for her life took my friend out of business for one year; now that she is gone and he is attempting to get his business going again, he is nowhere near his past performance.

What can you do to prepare for such inevitabilities? First, keep in touch with your "long distance" clients as much as possible. In real estate, once you complete a transaction you may not do another deal with that client until the current lease is up-that could be 2 to 5 years down the road. Staying in touch with clients in person or by direct mail, newsletters, or email campaigns is essential to making sure they remember you.

Second, make sure you have a fellow salesperson you can count on to pick up your business in your absence. Even if you are an independent salesperson, you need someone you trust who knows your business. You can do the same with them. This becomes an insurance policy, but in order for this relationship to work, it must be in place and ongoing well before a problem actually develops.

Third, follow up on your business, however difficult it may be during a personal setback. Your business is your financial lifeline, and it must continue to be worked. Of course, this is extremely difficult when your attention is focused on other matters. You may feel a sense of hopelessness, but keeping your business going will be important later as you attempt to get back to a more or less normal state.

Fourth, let your clients know what is going on. Yes, you risk that you may lose clients, but you also gain the possibility that they will cut you some slack. Accept help from other salespeople whom you can recommend to take over in your absence.

No one wants to think that personal distractions will keep them away from their successful business, but it does happen. Planning ahead for that day is key to avoiding possible financial ruin as well as to making sure your business is still there when you are able to focus on it again.
Posted 14 years, 5 months ago on September 28, 2005
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Comments on this post:

Re: How to Keep Your Business Going in the Face of Distractions
Very timely article and good advice to boot. You never think it will happen to YOU, and it helps to be prepared.

2005/09/29 by Dick Clauden • • Reply
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Re: How to Keep Your Business Going in the Face of Distractions
Thank you for your comments. We recently lost our business partner after 15 years of working together 5 days a week 10 hours a day. This partner was our heart and sole. This type of losses will unfortunately happen to each of us over time. Not preparing for such events clearly could impact your business and therefore your personal life. No one should have to deal with a loss of life that also creates an unecessary financial burden because of that loss as well.

2005/10/06 by Hans Hansson • • Reply
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