Swallow Your Frog

A Mark Twain quote says, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” There is a popular book titled Eat that Frog! 21 great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More done in Less Time by Brian Tracy. The idea behind swallowing your Frog is to get the problematic, uncomfortable task out of the way first. If you do the most uncomfortable thing for the first part of your day, that anxiety and overwhelming feeling of that conversation or task hanging over you all day will be done, which frees you up mentally and will result in less stress. 

How does this concept of swallowing the frog fall into the sincere sales approach? Every salesperson can relate to that phone call that they don’t want to have to make to a client giving them the bad news. No one wants to have a meeting because a product didn’t deliver on time, or the company didn’t perform correctly. The biggest mistake you can make in a sincere sales effort is to put that meeting off or procrastinate. By not confronting issues head-on and having difficult conversations with your customers, you are not being honest in your business dealings. What is worst is you are only compounding the issue. By avoiding the conversation, meeting, or delivering some bad news, you are making the problem worsen with each day. Then when you finally do have the conversation, you have lost some credibility with the client.

When managing people, it is the same concept. Swallow that Frog and do it first thing in the morning. Suppose you must discipline an employee or need to do some proactive coaching to correct behaviors that don’t align with the goals of the organization. Have those conversations early; once you start noticing a behavior change, the longer you wait, the problem will only get worst. What is worse for both a customer and an employee is that if they don’t know, they don’t have a chance to change behavior or improve a process. By avoiding specific conversations, you have missed an excellent opportunity to teach and correct and lead that customer or employee down a better path, which could lead to a much better working relationship. If things fester, the results end up worse than having the problematic conversation upfront.

I would like you to think about what gives you the most anxiety. You probably don’t have to think too hard as it is the thing that is on the top of your mind. Then I want you to play the conversation or task out in your head; how do you see it going, rehearse. Then Swallow that Frog and make the phone call, do the challenging task, have that difficult conversation. I promise that you won’t regret doing it. Please share in the comments if you have any examples or contact me via LinkedIn, Twitter, or email. 

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