As a salesperson or insurance agent are you always on time or running late? Is it really important to be punctual? How late is too late? Do you call the client to tell them you are running late? Are you so habitually late that your clients just expect it? I have a theory on not being punctual. Let’s explore it.
Here is my theory of being punctual. If you are meeting a prospect for the first time, the very first thing they have to measure an agent’s integrity is punctuality. So, if you tell John how great you are and how great your product or service is, that is hard to measure, other than research. But if you tell John I will be there Wednesday at 1:00pm and you show up at 1:20pm, John now has a solid measurement of your integrity either consciously or unconsciously. You told him 1:00pm and you didn’t keep your word. Now John must wonder if you lied about anything else. See being punctual goes beyond just being on time. All salespeople, business owners and insurance agents are being tested for honesty by the client. The time you arrive is your first test, don’t blow it. We live in a very busy world, most all of us do not like to be stood up or ignored by salespeople or service people, why would John?
So what happens when you just can’t help but be late? How late is too late? I train my agents that being on time is late. The agent or salesperson needs to beat least 5 minutes early at a minimum, preferably 10 to 15 minutes early and prepared. Especially if you are not sure where you are going, do not cut it close. If you are going to be more than 10 minutes late, call. We live in the world of cell phones. There is no excuse for lack of communication even if you run the risk of being rescheduled. The same is true of being prepared, do not show up and ask to use the restroom, take care of that business before arriving. Now, driving around in city traffic delays are just a part of life. Sometimes no matter how early you leave you get caught in traffic, it is just unavoidable. Pick up the phone and call. Prospects and clients understand things like that happen from time to time. Just don’t make it a habitual excuse, they see right through that as well. Even if you are just 3 minutes late, apologize. Let them know you are sorry and you realize how valuable their time is. People do appreciate that acknowledgement.
The habitually late salesperson needs work. This agent or salesperson must learn to live by a calendar. I personally prefer to use a Google calendar because it automatically syncs to my smart phone and my Outlook as a backup. Most people that have a seemingly impossible time being punctual needs to break that habit by starting their day earlier. If this person is always 15 minutes late, then start the day 15 minutes early. Psychologists state that it only takes 21 days to create a habit. This agent must challenge themselves to start early and break this really bad habit. One thing to change is to set their clocks 15 minutes fast to “trick” themselves to being on time. I am not the only one that being late is a pet peeve; it could be your next client. Remember time is money, to lose time is to lose money.
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 26 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.