Widespread use of computer-mediated communication actually requires more frequent face-to-face encounters, and extensive deep, robust, social infrastructures of relationships must exist so that those using the electronic media will truly understand what others are communicating to them. In other words, even in this high-tech world characterized by voice mail, e-commerce and instant messaging, face-to-face relationships are necessary.

Why is it that we think that every salesperson has his own way of selling and that is OK? Why is it, then, that we think salespeople should learn by trial and error, on the job? There are best practices for the job of field salesperson. If you are going to continually improve, you need to study those practices.

if only the people around us were more professional. Our lives would be easier, our businesses would grow more effortlessly, we'd find our jobs more fulfilling... the list of dramatic benefits can go on and on. But what does it mean to be more professional? More importantly, what can we do to make sure that we, and our associates, are becoming ever more professional?

For what tasks can you enlist help? Almost everything you do, with the exception of meeting face-to-face with your customers, can probably be delegated to someone who can do it better or more efficiently than you can. I stumbled onto a powerful time management principle: Creating relationships that result in people gladly working to assist you can be one of your most powerful time management strategies.

Technological advances in recent years have multiplied the amount of information that you must handle. The quantity of information landing on your lap has increased from sources all around you. Imagine how many precious selling hours you could waste each week if you don't harness that tidal wave of information. The idea is to keep tempting but useless information from stealing your time.

There have always been salespeople who have regularly planned strategically for the effective use of their time. It's been a characteristic of superstar salespeople and highly effective sales forces. Unfortunately, that describes the minority of salespeople and sales forces in the world. Gather the materials you'll need and immerse yourself in the process.

Sales is the only profession I know of where the overwhelming majority of practitioners are content with their personal status quo. Some mistakenly think that their jobs are so unique that they cannot possibly learn anything from anyone else. Still others think they know it all. They have, therefore, no interest in taking time from some seemingly valuable thing they are doing to attend a seminar or read a book.

Your customer's lack of time is a relatively recent phenomenon. It wasn't much of an issue a few years ago, but it has become universal and growing in intensity day by day. Today, not only must the product or service bring value to the customer, but the time you spend with the customer must also be of value to him or her. He/she must see a reason for spending time with you - a payback for his investment of time.

Our rapidly changing world constantly demands new methods, techniques, habits and routines. Over the years, I've seen some regularly occurring patterns develop - tendencies on the part of sales people to do things that detract from their effective use of time. Correct them, and you'll be well on your way to dramatically improved results.

So many of us have been concentrating on the clouds recently, that we haven't noticed the silver lining around the clouds. Certainly the economy is limping along in many industries that had been accustomed to regular growth. And the challenges of the Information Age can seem overwhelming at the moment. However, at the same time, there are unique and powerful opportunities for those salespeople who choose to pursue them.