Don’t be a Customer Doormat: Look Busy, Act Busy, Be Busy

“If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

Busy people get things done. You can rely on them. You trust them. You like dealing with them. They give you peace of mind.

It’s not that much different dealing with sales reps. Busy sales reps get things done. We can rely on them. We like buying from them. We like managing them.

I like dealing with sales reps that are busy. I like it when they can “squeeze me” into their appointment book later in the week.  I get the impression that they are busy.  And rightly or wrongly, I get the impression that they are in demand. And if they are in demand, they and their products must be good. Instinctively, I want to work with and buy from the best.  Lots of people do.

Conversely, I am not too keen on dealing with sales reps that are available at absolutely any time. It suggests to me that they have too much free time. And rightly or wrongly, I get the impression that they are not very good at sales.  I wonder if perhaps the product or service isn’t so great.

Of course, I recognize that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean a sales rep is good or that their products are great.  I recognize that accommodating reps can be very good. But the real issue here is one of perception. Busy has the perception of importance and value and significance.

So that begs the question: are you busy?

Or, at the very least, do you appear busy in the eyes of your clients and prospects?

Or are you available at the drop of the caller’s hat? Are you at their beck and call?

Beware the Doormat

Truth be told, some sales reps position themselves as doormats.  They are available anywhere and anytime for appointments, presentations, proposals…you name it. This can be detrimental to their sales success.

Here’s an example:

Client: “Your quote looks good.  When can we review the numbers?”

Sales Rep: “Gee, I’m free all day today, and all day tomorrow…Thursday and Friday too. Anytime you like!”

Sure, you can argue that you are simply being accommodating. You can argue that you are doing what it takes to get the sale.

But look at it from your client’s perspective. What might the client be thinking about a rep who is available at a whim?

‘Gee, this rep has all the time in the world. I wonder why? Hmmm, can’t be very good; sounds a little bit too accommodating; maybe a rookie; maybe a little too eager; maybe a little desperate; is no one else buying; maybe this isn’t such a hot product?  Maybe I should think about this a little longer.’

Being available at the drop of a hat can be a negative thing. People may perceive that you are not very good at what you do if you’re free all day. On a conscious or subconscious level, it makes them stop and wonder.

Another Perspective

Look at it from another perspective. Let’s say you weren’t quite as available. Let’s say you tell the customer that you have some free time late tomorrow afternoon and then again early Friday morning.

What impression would that create?

It could tell the client that you are busy; that people are buying your product; that you and your product are in demand; that you are a good sales person; that they are ‘fortunate’ to be dealing with you and buying the product. It tends to brand you as being better than most.

Another thing: it does NOT tell the client that you don’t want their business. It does NOT tell the client you don’t respect their time or their business.  It simply suggests that there is a lot of activity going on and that if you are so busy it must be because things are hopping.  It creates a sense of urgency. It betters your brand.

And that’s a good thing.

The point is that you have to be aware of perception and manage it and leverage it to the best of you ability.

If you do position yourself as busy, as someone in demand, your customers and prospects are more apt to keep the appointments you set with them. You have created a sense of urgency and importance and they tend to respect your time. The appointment you set now has a higher value in their mind.

A Moment of Truth

Don’t get me wrong.

I am not saying you should lie and tell them you’ve got fifty or sixty appointments booked when you don’t.  Not in the least.  I am simply saying that you should provide the times you are available to take that particular call. There is a significant distinction.


Busy sales reps are in demand because they are perceived to be the best.  The next time you are setting an appointment, whether by phone or face to face, be more stingy with your time.  Don’t be a doormat.  Provide select times that give the impression that you are not at their complete disposal.  They’ll have greater respect for you, your time, your product and your appointment.

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