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Things Harvard Doesn’t Teach You! Calculating Time

Things Harvard Doesn’t Teach You

Chapter 6. Calculating Time

Life has no limitations,

except the ones you make.

You don’t have to be great to get started,

but you have to get started to be great. ― Les Brown

Many ideas fail not because they are bad in themselves

or because they are not executed well,

but because the time taken to execute them is not reasonable.

A few years ago,

we were trying to establish a professional golf tournament in South America

and encountered many difficulties

from a currency devaluation

that reduced our cash flow to skyrocketing inflation

that made the cost of organizing event more expensive prize is too high.

In the end,

after spending a lot of money trying to figure out

what caused the failure,

we discovered

that it was due to the time we calculated

to execute the plan was not suitable.

However, we also discovered that South Americans love golf.

Therefore, we believe that one day,

when the conditions are favorable,

our intentions will be successfully realized.

Many salespeople are quick to dismiss a good idea simply

because they miscalculated the timing.

If a person says “no” to a project or idea,

it does not mean

that he does not like the idea or project.


at the moment,

they have financial problems

or have internal problems

that prevent them from implementing that idea or project.



Passion is the genesis of genius. — Anthony Robbins

If you believe in your idea,

and believe your customers understand it,

then come back.

A good idea can yield results

when presented at a more favorable time.

Time can change the business situation and buyer’s reception.

After Bob Anderson became President of Rockwell International,

I asked him to hire our company to make an internal promotional film.

In the film,

Anderson will visit many of Rockwell’s branches

and explain their role in the operation of the entire company.

We’ve done this in the past

and know it’s a powerful tool for building trust

and a welcoming environment in a multinational company.

Anderson said:

“Mark, I just took over this job.

And hiring a promotional videographer will be the last thing on my mind.

However, try talking to me again in five years.”

After almost a year,

I discussed this with Anderson

and it is true that Rockewell is working on the necessary budget for this.



First you should set a goal

what you want to get

and some steps how to achieve it

You can do it right now. – Cherry Nguyen

Calculating time brings many benefits in sales.

It can decide anything from the timing of the deal,

the timing of the conversation

to the timing of special situations.

Calculating time is not a command or a rule

that can be applied to all cases,

but a perception.

They are decisions we research

and apply on a case-by-case basis.

This means that most people with natural timing are often those

who are sensitive to themselves,

their customers, and the sales situation.

Almost every deal,

whether a simple transaction or a long,

complex series of movements,

emits distinctive sensory signals that can be felt by anyone.

Follow the rules

The objective facts of a deal:

its nature,



and information gathered can give you the information

you need to calculate the right timing.

Please apply this information according to the rules of common sense.

Do the right things and don’t do the things you shouldn’t.

If the customer doesn’t know you or your company,

it will take you longer to make the sale.

If the prospect isn’t convinced at first,

it’s a good idea to spend some time talking before re-selling.

If you know it takes many months for customers to make a purchase,

don’t force them to commit to a purchase after a few weeks.

A company once asked me to create a sports concept

for them to suit their promotional needs.

Not long ago,

I read a concept about tennis,

and with just a little change,

the concept would become what the above company needed

(This is not an example of calculating time).

It’s just a random case of timing.

This is completely out of the salesperson’s control

but most people will get lucky once or twice.)

I told the company I would think about it,

I wanted to discuss it with my colleagues

and would call them back in two weeks.

Despite having what he needed,

I knew that if I wanted my concept to be compelling,

there had to be a time gap

between asking the question and presenting the solution.

If I had called him the very next day,

he would have wondered

if in such a short time the idea was really worth it.

But, by stating the exact time I would call back,

not only would he expect the phone call,

but he would also be interested in what I had to say.

A very effective rule is not to reveal what you know right away.

Consider whether the situation requires a timing strategy,

or use time to your advantage.

If the situation doesn’t call for a timing strategy

and we can’t use our time to our best advantage,

we can call back immediately.

Listen to customers

The salesperson can control the timing

and must capture the signals from the customer.

Obviously listening is always more valuable than talking,

listening attentively to

what the customer has to say is more effective than you think.

You can get a lot of timing cues by asking the right questions.

For example, for financial or other reasons,

companies place more orders at this time of year than at other times.

These are popular news,

you just have to ask questions and listen.

If you know your customers well,

take the time to get to know them,

they will give you the necessary instructions

for timing when to start,

when to end,

who to call,

at any time

throughout the sales process.

Follow the script

Making sure the timing is right is very important in negotiating a contract.

If all the variables used to calculate the time were considered

and analyzed separately,

it would take a series of computers to get the correct time response.

Fortunately, the mind does this for us.

It senses things that analyzers cannot.

Thus, calculating time is just transforming the senses into conscious actions

or conscious motions (not to say or not to do anything).

This process will be easier if you consider the timeframe

as the life of the trade.

Most transactions have a mysterious life according to a predetermined scenario.

Those who have ever “killed a business”

by closing too soon or too late,

by shortening or extending a deal beyond its natural lifespan,

can clearly see this.

It can take us a few seconds

or a few years to make a sale.

Of course, the more complex the business,

the more stages it takes to build a specific scenario,

to be able to understand the mysteries of the deal,

calculate the time for each stage when and how long .

Timing  transforms the senses into appropriate conscious actions

that is,

watching the script and following it.

Many people,

once they have a script,

want to do something different from it.

In the rush to make a deal,

they want to buy more time or skip the stage.

They want to rewrite the dialogue

or remove the text for the client.

By rewriting the script,

they set themselves up for failure.



Every great dream begins with a dreamer.

Always remember,

you have within you the strength,

the patience,

and the passion to reach

for the stars to change the world. — Harriet Tubman

We are all driven by instant desires.

Let’s put it aside and move on to the next task.

Tossing a ball in the air means one less worry.

But even when we can get others to do what we want,

we can rarely get them to do it all the time.

People and things move at their own pace

and almost never go the way we want them to.

One of the surest signs of business maturity is the ability

to control the urge for instant gratification,

to adapt your schedule to the schedules of others.

As both a salesperson

and a company manager,

I can think of no more important aspect of timing than patience.

Impatience alone can ruin a deal,

while patience

letting others brag and waiting for a special opportunity

can change the course of a deal.

I would guess that the majority of business failures are

due to impatience.

I have seen many such cases.

• A salesperson talks to a customer on the phone

and feels that the customer is upset or upset,

but still tries to make a sale.

• A salesperson said,

“But this only takes a minute”

when asked by a customer to come back next time.

• A salesman,

while working on a deal,

said to a buyer:

“Now that the deal is done,

I really have something to discuss with you.”

If timing miscalculation is an inborn disease,

patience can be the cure.



You may delay, but time will not. ― Benjamin Franklin

Persistence implies that sales is a game of numbers,

you need to knock on the door many times

and have to come back many times.

I don’t believe that’s all about trading.

For our organization

and I’m sure that as with most service organizations,

in sales,

What types of doors to knock,

how to knock

and when to knock are very important.

However, this does not mean that perseverance is not required.

If you don’t patiently wait and come back,

then the understanding of how to calculate the time is no longer valuable.

Persistence is one of the top factors in sales regulations,

along with “know your product” and “believe in your product”:



The key is in not spending time,

but in investing it. ― Stephen R. Covey

There are so many timing opportunities that

maybe you have met.

While you don’t have to be a fortune teller to recognize them,

you do need to be keen to understand their meanings

and use them to your advantage.

How to extend and renew the contract

Extend, renew or renegotiate a contract

when your partner is at his best,

not when the contract is about to expire.

Whenever a task is performed for a client,

I encourage the caseworker to discuss contract renewal with the client,

even while the agreement is still in effect.

If your customer gets good news,

even if it has nothing to do with your product (like a raise or bonus),

it’s a good time opportunity.

Let’s automatically check the mood.

Moods can turn “yes” into “no” and vice versa.

Take advantage of other people’s miscalculation of time

Wrong timing or someone else’s bad luck can bring many opportunities for you.

You often see this during election time,

with each candidate being very cautious about

when to jump into the ring.

Everyone is waiting for the opponent to make a political mistake,

so that they will enter like a true knight.

Just as you find a way to renew a contract

when the customer is happiest,

you need to find a way to sign a contract

when the prospect is the most unhappy with your competition.

Not long ago,

our Television division sought to obtain international representation

for an important sports tournament.

At that time,

this right belonged

to one of the American television systems.

We know that the organizers of the tournament are aware of the fact

that the TV system has just sold a number of sports programs to other countries,

including the above important sports tournament.

The organizers are very upset about being taken advantage of

and because they have had many problems

with this television system before,

I feel this is my opportune moment:

Now, we represent for that Sports Tournament.

Weighing between present and future

When he won the British Open golf tournament in 1969,

Tony Jacklin received many invitations,

especially from England

which always wanted to have a golf champion of its own.

However, we felt that he could go further

and that his value would increase

so we only signed him to short-term,

one-year deals.

A year later,

Jacklin won the US Open

and the value of his contract tripled.

In contrast,

when Ben Crenshaw switched to professional golf,

I felt he created a powerfully charismatic image in the professional sports world.

He is seen as the new “Nicklaus”.

While it’s a good nickname,

it’s almost impossible for him to live up to it.

I felt the need to give Crenshaw an image before he was labeled

with the results he may

or may not achieve on the pitch.

However, because Ben waited so long,

when we started representing him,

it didn’t bring much results.

Take advantage of the sunset time

Pat Ryan, editor of People magazine,

tells me that the selling secret of her father,

the late Irish breeder Jim Ryan,

has passed on to many racers.

It is always inviting customers to the house at dusk for tea or wine.

This is not a social act,

but in fact,

when the sun goes down is the best time to observe the horses.

One of our most successful shows:

ABC’s “Superstars” is sold in installments,

as it fits the need for the time the television system has put in to fill it.

fill the gap in winter sports between the football

and baseball seasons.

Calendar with content

Dates convert time calculations to specific news.


in the hands of sales professionals,

can become the ultimate sales weapon.

For example,

in our work we know that if it weren’t for world politics,

the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics would certainly have been held.

We can time it to focus sales on future events.

In fact, many of our sales efforts are timed

so that they can take advantage of the impact of major annual sporting events

and use them as a vehicle for customer nurturing.

Many years ago,

when Proposition 13 of the California Tax Reform Act was proposed

and became a hot issue in society;

I heard a story about a finance lecturer

who took advantage of future opportunities announced by Calendar.

Weeks before the proposal was put up for a vote,

he advertised his new series of lectures,

titled “How to Benefit from Proposition 13,”

in the Los Angeles Times and influenced the general public.

Take office and leave

The best leads are those who have just arrived

or just left a company.

As he was about to leave Pontiac,

John Delore called me and said,

“Mark, as soon as I leave here,

they will find a way to undo what I did.

If you want to renew your contract,

we should do it now.”

A newly inaugurated director desperately wants to do something

to make a mark.

A director about to leave office

and know for sure he won’t be there to face the consequences

– will not care about the contracts he signs.

We had a lot of negotiations

because people wanted to fill the gaps before leaving,

and because they wanted to make a mark on the new assignment.

If your timing is delicate,

let your partner know

For example,

“I knew about this from last week,

but I don’t want to bother you in the middle of the Sales Conference

(before the holidays,

while you’re working on a budget, etc.).

As a general rule,

phone calls

(especially if there is bad news

or a difficult problem)

should be avoided on Monday morning or Friday afternoon.

Take advantage of unexpected times

A phone call outside of business hours,

late at night or on the weekend always makes a big impression.

If you are clever, you can get a lot of benefits from this,

but you should know what you do

because it may bring about the opposite reaction.

Always arrange everything perfectly before calling:

“This is very good (or very important),

so I want to talk to you over the weekend.”

Don’t set deadlines

Sometimes, you are required to give a deadline to a client.

But deadlines are a threat,

and when threatened,

people will do their best to resist.

Forwarding should only be used

when no other means are available.

The fastest way to discredit is to set a deadline and then extend,

amend, or ignore it.

Once you don’t honor your deadline,

everything you say is worthless.

Use the time to soften the threat.

Not long ago, we were tricked by a company.

Initially, this company expressed a definitive intention to proceed

with our business.

They wanted us to help them get a female tennis player

to spend more time with the company.

Setting a deadline can be unduly threatening.

So we let them know

within a week it was difficult for us to provide an answer

or we were unable to drop some of her tennis tournament commitments.

The answer is no,

but knowing this is better than buying time anyway.

By introducing a time contrast,

we applied pressure,

but it didn’t seem obligatory to answer yes or no.

Attention time

Busy people usually only pay attention to the problem you cover for a short time,

so let’s get straight to the point.

Don’t start with your life story,

don’t prolong the introduction and dramatize the issue.

By doing so,

you are only annoying your listeners or, worse,

distracting them.

Also, find out the attention span of the people you deal with.

For example,

I know that for Anderson at Rockwell,

if I talk about a problem for more than 45 seconds,

he will immediately think about it.

Focus on what’s important

If you have a lot of issues to discuss,

make sure to spend enough time talking about the most important issue.

Never make yourself ask,

“Can I speak for a few more minutes?

I haven’t talked about the main issue yet.”

Allocate time properly

The best way to make a good impression is to get the job done half

as early as the client thought it would be.

On the contrary,

the worst way is not completing the work on time.

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