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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Are you doing everything you can?

March 28. 2014 11:53PM

There is one question I ask people on my team to ask themselves at the end of every day. It's a question that only the individual can answer and one that requires honesty and the ability to self-reflect. It's a question that you can't answer the same way every day, and that is to be expected.

The question is: "Did you do everything you could to win today?" In order to be successful in sales, you have to give it your all. Sales is not a place for people who want to do the bare minimum and squeak by. It requires a lot of hours, a lot of effort and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It's just the reality of the profession.

But for some strange reason, there are people in sales roles that don't get this. They expect to just magically succeed without putting in the time and effort that is required. And the vast majority of the time, these are the types of people who fail miserably or, by sheer luck, get stuck in a rut of mediocrity and survive.

I am a big believer in having a work-life balance. I've written about this in past columns, and I am in no way saying that your career should dominate every hour of your day. Time with family is critical, and so is having time to decompress and escape from your everyday responsibilities.

But we know that whatever we decide to do comes with consequences. I think Jack Welch put it best when he said, "There's no such thing as work/life balance. There are work/life choices. You make them, and they have consequences." I don't think it can be said in a more candid and accurate way.

As an example, let's you have a big customer presentation happening in two days. But you also have family responsibilities and obligations. You have options. You can either dedicate the time necessary to prepare for your big presentation by getting help and support from friends or family or you can spend less time preparing for your presentation and continue on as if it's a normal situation.

It's a brutal choice and one you have to think about long and hard. It's not an easy decision. You have to recognize the pros and cons of each.

It all comes down to timing and weighing the risks and rewards of each. There are times when you have to sacrifice time with your family in order to ensure your success in critical situations that impact and influence your career.

There are family situations you prioritize over work. We have all done that. I've canceled and bailed on very important events and meetings in order to ensure I'm physically present for important events where my wife and daughters need me there. And I've also made the decision to let certain work-related tasks take precedent over family matters.

It's not easy. It's something I struggle with every day. Every decision has consequences, and that's not an easy pill to swallow.

At the end of the day, it's situational. Just be sure you strongly consider all factors and make the decision that is best for you, your family and your career. It's impossible for a decision to satisfy all three. But never lose sight that career and business priorities also influence the quality of life your family experiences due to the dedication you have for your career.

Christopher Thompson ( writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News. Thompson is the vice president of sales and services for Leadership Solutions at Skillsoft, a Nashua-based provider of learning solutions. Visit Skillsoft on the web at

Christopher Thompson's Closing The Deal

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