Procrastination- we all do it. Whether we are procrastinating over a work report or cleaning the house, everyone is guilty of time wasting. It is not necessarily a bad habit BUT at work it does little except slow down production.

Salespeople know they need to be filling their pipelines, making calls and scheduling meetings but they aren’t. They are procrastinating. One of the reasons some people procrastinate is that they are perfectionists. They do not allow themselves permission to fail. This trait in salespeople is particularly problematic and is encroaching on their work. It’s a hidden weakness that is holding them hostage, preventing them from taking actions they know are crucial to their success.

Being a perfectionist sounds great in theory, you could be wondering what is wrong with that. When it comes to salespeople attempting something they haven’t done before, everything is wrong with that. Say a salesperson must talk to 10 or more prospects just to schedule one call or meeting. To a perfectionist, that would be nine failures. For the salespeople, it is their own doing. It’s self-imposed, and they know it!

So what does the perfectionist do, they procrastinate. They will continue to delay until they are certain they can have no failures. Their process requires researching, wordsmithing, preparing and preparing some more. This ultimately only results in a salesperson sounding more like a telemarketer reading from a script, and less like a person having a conversation. By making it ‘perfect’ they will fail, that is the unfortunate catch-22.

So what can we do about it?

Sales manager hold the authority to let their salespeople fail. YES, I said ‘let them fail.’ Not only give them permission but insist on it. Force them to face failure by getting someone to say “No” to them and then praise them for their efforts. As a sales manager, it is your duty to educate not push your team, show them that failure is ok and teach them how to learn from it. If they can learn from the failure, then it is a success.

If you are a salesperson, give yourself permission to fail. Nothing in this world is perfect, so you do not have to be. Remember that even if you make the worst prospecting call in the history of selling, who is going to know about it? From now on each time you face the sting of rejection, dust yourself off and get ready to try, try again.

Isn’t it time your sales team had results instead of excuses?