How do you deal with the “I’m too busy” excuse?

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 Ever said or heard this: 

Sorry, I’m just too busy to consider taking on anything else right now!
I’ve resurrected this article that was posted in early 2012 because it is one of the most sought after articles that I have posted, so I hope you enjoy it again.

I’m sure that we all have seen similar cartoons that do a great job of exposing the universal problem that many of us find ourselves in, whether we are the King ready to fight another battle, or the Salesman trying to solve his problem. Notice the guy at the tent trying to get the King’s attention; do you think he knows something the King doesn’t? Isn’t it funny how we get so wrapped up in our own battles (issues, projects, etc.), that we are often blind and deaf to a solution those around us can see and hear?

In our cartoon presentation there are actually two battles about to take place. The first battle is where the King and his army are about to engage the enemy. The second battle is with the machine gun salesman battling to get the King’s time and attention. If the salesman did get the King’s time and attention, then the battle they both were about to engage in would have significantly different outcomes.

Whether we are fighting battles, putting out fires, juggling projects, or simply going about our day-to-day jobs, there never seems to be a good time to take on anything else. People often use “I’m too busy” as an excuse not to have to deal with the real problems or issues at hand. They often hide behind, buy into, and believe that they are too busy. So when in their job are they not going to be too busy? If they ever get to the point when they aren’t too busy, then they will probably be looking for a job.

In order for sales people to get busy people to interrupt what they are doing to meet with them, then they must get the prospect to:

#1 acknowledge that they have a problem,

#2 feel that the pain of the problem is worth solving, and

#3 feels it is a priority over everything else they are doing and worth solving now.

If the salesperson can’t get the buy-in from the prospect that those three things are important to them and worth doing now, then there is no clear value proposition for the prospect to move forward and make a change from what they are currently doing.

The battle plan for our machine gun salesman is to paint a vivid picture, for the King, of how victorious he will be by using the machine gun solution. Sometimes we need to give people a jolt, by telling, or showing how much better their lives would be if only they would consider something new. People should never be too busy to take the time to stop and listen to an idea or solution that will save them time, money, resources, etc. I’m sure it wouldn’t take much of a demonstration to show the King that it was worth his time to stop and see what a tremendous advantage it would give him over his enemy.

The moral of our story is twofold:

  1. The moral for the King is: Never be too busy to stop and listen to a salesman with a machine gun, if you are planning on fighting a battle with a sword.
  2. The moral for our salesman is: If you want to get the attention of the King, then you better be able to explain to him why it is in his advantage to take time to meet, or speak with you.

There is a whole other discussion around inertia and the cost of not doing anything that we will address at another time. But for now, let’s just say that sometimes salespeople have to help their prospect discover that the pain they have may just be worth interrupting their busy schedule to do something about now.

At least that’s the way I see it what say you?

About the author:

Chuck Carey is an accomplished sales, marketing and business executive with more than 40 years of experience in the information technology industry. Chuck’s vast knowledge of the problems facing all types of organizations around identifying and capturing corporate knowledge makes him ideally suited to work with and consult in that area. If you would like to see if Chuck can help you and your organization please contact him through this website.

  1. Chuck,

    Brilliant article! Thanks so much for posting!