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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Is It Possible To Have Too Much Work Intensity?

Is_It_Possible_To_Have_Too_Much_Talent_IntensityDo you have salespeople on your team who are too hard working? Sounds like a great problem to have, doesn’t it? I’m sure you know someone who has boundless energy. They never slow down, they’re constantly on the go, and even though you consider yourself energetic, it’s tough to keep up with them.

Does it feel productive or does it sometimes just feel hectic?

I have a friend like that and even though she is a lot of fun, sometimes she moves too quickly for people and lets things slip through the cracks. She has a natural tendency to take on too much. Busy feels really good, but sometimes her life is more hectic than productive.

It’s great when you have energy and the ability to work at a fast pace, but it is not good if you are running full steam ahead without a plan.

So is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

Yes. It is!

A talent can sometimes be so intense that it fires all the time, which can get in the way of someone’s success because they can’t turn off that talent, they can’t temper it in situations where a little tempering is called for. Think about someone you know who is hyper-organized, and they can’t get working until every paper, file, and pen is in its place. So, they may waste a whole lot of time color-coding, labeling, and making sure everything is in its place, which is not always the most productive use of time, especially in sales.

How to Coach Intense Salespeople to Harness Their Energy

I talked with two sales managers in the past week who have sellers with a ton of great energy, but they haven’t quite figured out how to harness that energy and point it in the right direction. A couple of their salespeople were a little too intense and were firing all the time. Much like my fast-moving friend, their energy and sense of urgency caused them to move more quickly than their clients and prospects wanted to move. They were rushing through the needs-analysis process and missing needs. Their enthusiasm kicks in so they get really excited when they hear a need, prompting them to grab the first thing they hear and run with it. That led to some missed opportunities—they either left the client in the dust, or they would never get to the real needs, the information that would unlock the biggest sale.

You absolutely want a salesperson with a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm who works hard and moves quickly—and we measure those traits in the Sales Talent Interview—but when work intensity gets too intense, when they have too much of a good thing, you may have to help them focus their talents in the right direction.

Being Constantly Busy Isn't Necessarily a Good Thing

Help them recognize the difference between busy and productive and busy and hectic by discussing the top priorities and helping them identify the items on their task list that can be removed. Is their task list full of things that are getting them to their goals more quickly, or do they just like having a lot going on?

If you notice that they’re moving too quickly for clients, remind them that not everyone has the same energy level and encourage them to constantly ensure they’re not moving too fast for their clients. Ask questions like, “Are we on the same page?” Coach them to watch for signals that they are running out ahead of the client. What is the client’s body language telling them? Are they leaning forward and engaged, or leaning back and looking confused?

Also, make sure they are not cutting corners or skipping steps because they’re impatient. Coach them to ask a lot of good questions and be an active listener. Remember they are wired for speed, and it’s difficult for them to slow down, so it’s important for them to keep digging and ask more questions. Help them understand that when they avoid running with that first need, they might uncover an even bigger opportunity. If they get to an awkward spot or aren’t sure where to go next, they can always say, “Tell me more” to get their client talking. Practice with them how to listen more and talk less.

Encourage them to use that great energy, enthusiasm, and hard work to follow a good, structured needs analysis process and stick with it, instead of leaving their natural instincts unbridled and moving forward too quickly.

Coaching intense talents can be intense! But these small tweaks can be the difference between a salesperson staying on a smart path or going off the rails.

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