The best salespeople are fanatical about being on time. When I spend time with the best I find them to be crazy, and I mean squirrel-crazy, about leaving with plenty of time to get to appointments. I often feel like I did as a kid on a field trip to Washington, D.C. with the nuns chasing me continuously to move to the next monument in a timely manner.
At one point in my career I ran a business owned by BellSouth in London. I had two sales representatives who had similar names, Colin Clisby and Colin Copsey. I was always screwing up their last names and ended up accidentally blending them together to produce a new last name for both of them – Clopsey. Now this was particularly disturbing since both had the same first name.
Colin Clopsey #1 was insane about being on time. He was 45 minutes early to every appointment to prevent being late. Colin Clopsey #2, however, was always late unless he screwed up and left early by mistake.
Clopsey #2, hereafter called Clopsey, had a sales territory in downtown London, and I would often make sales calls with him. We both lived outside the city, so we would meet somewhere on the outskirts of town and ride into London together. He was always late picking me up and so we were under pressure from the start.
London traffic is horrible. The closer you get to the downtown area, the slower it gets until it just stops. When the traffic would begin to crawl, Clopsey would begin to panic. When traffic stopped, his panic reached epic proportions and he would simply pull over and park. We would then sprint to the nearest tube (subway) station to ride the rest of the way downtown. We were almost always late to each appointment.
Clopsey’s customers were busy people working in the financial district of downtown London and often did not wait for him to show up. He was actually quite a good salesperson in that he listened well, understood his product and had excellent closing skills. But being chronically late reduced his sales opportunities.