People Perform to Deadlines

As a human performance scientist, I have learned that humans only perform to deadlines. One of the reasons that deadlines influence behavior is that deadlines define and clarify responsibility. Deadlines also introduce a feedback loop of accountability. Responsibility and accountability are fundamental to human achievement.

In his clever book on human motivation and performance called You Really Oughta Wanna, Robert Mager discusses the importance of accountability on human performance. He argues that if no one ever asks for an accounting of assigned responsibility, the quality of performance on that responsibility will erode and eventually terminate.

When you schedule the next event it sets a deadline for you and your suspect. It governs the behavior of sales people as well as the commitment of your suspect. Scheduling creates a deadline and accountability. Deadlines and accountability govern human performance.

Alleviate Friction in the Sales Process

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the importance of scheduling the next event, and how it advances the sales process. Scheduling the next event also alleviates the effects of friction in the sales process.

If you complete a sales appointment without scheduling the next event, your own schedule – the demands on your time and attention – become added friction to the process. Failure to schedule the next event after any sales appointment means that you will have to make at least one additional phone call to schedule a future appointment. Usually it takes many phone calls to get in touch with your prospect and schedule the appointment. The friction can be eliminated or alleviated simply by scheduling the next event before concluding the current conversation.

When you schedule the next event it totally eliminates the need for additional phone calls. With the event scheduled and the agenda set there is little need for additional contact. Even if you are one of those people who like to confirm every appointment, you can confirm with a voice message or an e-mail, you don’t have to wait to make personal contact. Eliminating phone calls eliminates friction that will otherwise slow the process.