Mornings or afternoons – when are your clients most honest?

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Written by Nastran Andersen

February 23, 2020

It’s negotiation time, and you’re working to schedule an onsite meeting with the client to review the contract. Or maybe it’s the end of the quarter and you’re confirming with your sales team which deals are actually going to close. If you want the most straightforward answers to your questions, you better make it early in the day.

study conducted by a research team at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University concluded that indeed, even those with a strong moral compass are more likely to lie, steal and cheat in the afternoon than they are in the morning. But why? The researchers determined that even everyday tasks and activities deplete our energy, leading to diminishing self-control throughout the day.  In general, people are more honest and operate with higher morality in the morning.  

So what does this mean for you as a sales person?  Here are some things to consider.

Which outcomes in the sales process require more “honesty”?

No one believes that being dishonest is a good way to solve problems.  However, as daily fatigue sets in we are more likely to convince ourselves that a real problem does not exist. Or, what we thought was a problem in the morning has lost some of its urgency by the end of a long day. If you push a client for key information late in the day, there is a higher likelihood that the answer you get is not the real or complete answer you need related to budget, decision-makers, or timelines. For these crucial bits of information, you should plan morning phone calls or meetings.

What types of meetings are you scheduling with your clients?

Not all meetings and engagements can happen in the morning.  Key decisions and fact gathering should happen early in the day if possible, but there are some conversations or meetings can you save for later in the day.  Meetings that involve larger groups limit the ability to avoid the truth. It’s more difficult for someone to provide partially complete answers that may be misleading.  Afternoon meetings are also good times to build relationships and rapport. These are the perfect opportunities to remove your client from the mundane situations that create late afternoon fatigue. 

With careful planning and consideration of pressures your clients may be experiencing, you’ll be able to time your meetings the right way, getting you one step closer to closing the business.

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