You have a goal to achieve.
Perhaps it’s a proposal to write, a prospecting task to complete, or a major presentation to deliver. Whatever the task, preparation---research and planning---enables you to attack the undertaking in a more organized fashion by focusing on what needs to be done, and complete the job more quickly.
Or does it?
It depends on whether the preparation represents proper planning or if it’s merely a pretext for procrastination.
What differentiates the two?
The distinction deals with the type of information the preparation revolves around. Is it “need to know” information which is directly related to moving the opportunity from one step to the next, or is it “nice to know” information that may be useful in planning for all the various contingencies---potential delays, detours, and roadblocks, or other “what if” scenarios---just in case they occur?
Just-in-case-thinking---planning for all the contingencies---leads to over-preparation. And over preparation not only delays the start of the task at hand, but it diffuses your focus and diverts your attention from what needs to be done. Whether deliberate or unconscious, it’s a form of procrastination. And it will prevent you from completing the task in the most efficient manner.
When preparing for a sales task, focus primarily on what it will take to move to the next step in the sales process. Recognize the possibility of roadblocks and detours, but don’t dwell on them. Be prepared…but not over-prepared. You’ll find that you can get more done more quickly.
- John Martin