Hustle is both an important concept but a very unfortunate word. To many, particularly prospects and customers, it has vey negative connotations.

Prospects and customers don’t want to feel “Hustled.” Usually they take this meaning as being manipulated, cheated, or fooled.

Sales people who do this are often labeled “Hustlers.”

But there is an important, positive aspect of Hustle or Hustling.

It’s really a sense of obsessive and relentless focus and goal attainment.

That’s where a lot of sales people (and managers) get Hustle wrong. They confuse Hustle with activity and busyness. They seem to think hustle is about volume and velocity. For example, how many calls can we make, how many meetings do we have, how busy are we?

Some mistake Hustle for how packed their calendar is with meetings–all scheduled back to back, with no time to move from one to the other. The think a packed agenda is a measure of Hustle–in fact, the worst case I’ve ever seen is a senior exec that scheduled 3 meetings simultaneously–he would bounce from conference room to conference room. You can guess how much he actually accomplished.

Multitasking is another false indicator of Hustle. We’ve all seen the data on how badly multitasking impacts results.

People who really Hustle look a lot different. They don’t measure success by activity–but by the right activities. They are relentless in understanding what it takes to achieve their goals. They are vicious in eliminating anything that detracts them from goal attainment. They don’t waste time, thought, or resources on things that don’t contribute to their ability to achieve.

They are calculated in what they do–which means they are always examining what they do, how they do it, how they can improve. As a result they are constantly learning, improving, tuning to produce better results, more effectively and efficiently. They understand the difference between effectiveness and efficiency and know effectiveness precedes efficiency.

People who Hustle tend to be driven internally. Quota is something the pass on the way to achieving their goals. They don’t let themselves be distracted by obstacles, or difficulties, but figure out how to get around them (or avoid them in the first place.).

They know they have to constantly learn and improve, because their own internal drive compels them to to this. While they celebrate their accomplishments, it’s only briefly, because they raise the bar on themselves, striving for more.

They recognize they won’t always succeed, so they learn from their failures, not seeking excuses or to assign blame, but to learn how to improve. They don’t rest on their laurels.

Do you hustle, or are you merely busy?