Principle of Diminishing Intent


“The longer you wait to do something that you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”

Think about New Year’s Resolutions. We make a list of all of the things we want to do better in the New Year. This list might include eat healthier, work out more, write more thank you cards, etc. All really good ideas. However, University research suggests that just 8% of the people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually achieve their goals. Yikes! That’s low.

This can also happen with your clients. They see your product or learn about your service and they get excited. Really excited. You connect. They are giving you lots of signs of emotional buy in. They love you and can’t wait to get started. They just need a little time “to think about it.” You are so sure it is a done deal that you have already checked off a box in the win column for the month. But then you don’t hear from them again. You call. Send emails. NO response. You are left wondering, “What the heck happened to that awesome prospect?”

Well, “life” probably happened. After leaving your office (or you leaving theirs) the phone started to ring . . . a problem came up at work . . . a kid got sick at school . . . the cost of the project started to sound like a lot . . . The prospect’s enthusiasm for the project just started to wane.

If we don’t help the client take action (when the idea strikes and the emotion is high) the urgency starts to diminish. People are more likely to stick with a new habit, idea, or intention if they make steps toward actually accomplishing it in the next 48 hours. Your job as a sales professional is to help them start accomplishing steps in the process as soon as possible:

  • Start with something small and take immediate action
  • Clearly outline the steps in the buying process (3-5 max)
  • Schedule next appointments when you are still together
  • Record the prospect’s reasons for NEEDING the product
  • Focus on the end goal

Ideas and intentions are like seasons . . . they come and go freely and like the weather (especially here in MN!) can change directions quickly. Our goal as sales professionals is to help clients realize the benefit of our products and services from first contact through completion. We cannot help them if we do not efficiently and effectively lead the client through the process. This takes confidence in ourselves and our products, a consistent sales process, and the true intention to help people.

It is so easy to develop a routine of coming into your office, checking your voice-mail and e-mail, and having that decide what you should do today. Creating the habit of deciding your 5 most important tasks to do the night before helps you stay on track to get the most important tasks done before being distracted by new things that come up.


Lynne Jensen-Nelson, founder of Conversion-omics Speakers & Consultants is a highly sought after keynote speaker and business strategist. Driven to inspire, Lynne specializes in effective communication strategies, profitable sales processes, and active brand management. She has also earned the Virtual Presenter Certification which is a test of a presenter’s equipment, environment, and skill using remote presentation tools.

An award-winning industry expert with over 20 years of experience developing successful sales teams, Lynne is known for providing immediately applicable information and techniques every time she takes the stage. Her high energy presentations keep the audience actively engaged and leaves them with practical solutions to improve their approach to sales. All services can be delivered virtually, live stream or on-site.

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