How Effective Timing of Activities Closes More Deals

In this article we’re going to uncover how our timing is integral in sales, in particular when attempting to close a deal.


I’m going to make my point initially by looking at politics, as it clearly portrays an exemplary use of timing.


So to set the scene, think of the political party whom are in power in your country at the moment, or those parties past. You will notice that their policies reflect their time in office. All of the controversial, difficult policies are adopted early in their term, say the first year or two. Then all of the crowd pleasing policies are instigated in their run up to re-election. They’re canny, they recognise the power of the serial-position effect, namely the recency effect relating to the cognitive bias to those items at end of something. They’re conscious that the ugly policies which are a necessity, things like austerity measures such as cuts are best placed at the start of their term in office. Conversely the well-received policies like tax reductions etc are best positioned at the end of their term.


It’s no secret why they do this. They’re hoping to get re-elected, if they flip the model and initiated all the positive policies at the start of their terms and the negative at the end then they’re almost guaranteeing themselves to not get re-elected.


So how does this relate to sales?


Well it highlights the point that everything is about timing, politicians are aware of how vital timing can be and they manipulate their timing of policies astutely. We should do the exact same in our sales roles.


So think about closing a deal, often in sales we’re aware of the sales cycle of an opportunity, or timeline which a buyer wants to make their decision. To effectively close that sale we must time our activities intelligently.


So what do I mean by this? Well in one of my previous articles I talked about Activity Cradle in that every activity we undertake, whether that be a phone call, meeting, webinar, trial etc will add weight (positive influence) to our sales proposition. If you missed this article you can find it here:


Well we need to go one step further from this. In our book Sales Icon: Selling in the Shadows we introduce the concept of the activity cradle and how it works like an hour glass. If you can’t picture an hourglass then let me help re the below:


In an hourglass the sand slowly dissipates from the receptacle which it lies, which we define as the activity cradle. And that slow depreciation of sand or weight as we define it is metaphorically typical of our sales process. We coin the concept that activity adds weight to our hourglass, but overtime that weight slowly evaporates like an hourglass.


It’s true, our activities level of influence over time reduces. For instance a meeting I had with a customer yesterday is much more influential to him than if it had been a year ago. And that’s common for all activities, a trial last week is more influential to a customer than the trial he had months ago.


Hopefully you get the point, the key thing to take note of is:

  • Over time the weight or level of influence of an activity dissipates


So what should be your reflection from the article. Well we’ve focused on timing and the fact that an activities level of influence slowly dissipates. Therefore we should take the approach of:

  • Trying to continually add weight to our proposition through activities
  • Timing when to use activities and what format they should be (potentially positioning our most influential activities at the latter stages of the sales process – think back to the point on politicians)


Ideally we want to be ramping up the regularity and the weight of activities the closer we get to the end of the timeline for a sales decision. We want to add so much weight to our proposition at the closing stages of the sales process that we tip the balance and are successful in winning the sale. If we use up all of our most powerful activities early on such as trials, webinars, references etc then by the time the decision is made their level of influential has greatly deteriorated.


In the book Sales Icon: Selling in the Shadows we delve into this topic in much more detail, so if you want a deeper dive then do purchase the book when it’s released.


I hope that this at least helps you to plan the timing of your activities and aids you in closing more sales. If you have any questions or would like any further advice then please do message me directly on LinkedIn.

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