Weekday Effect

Well, the second time in a fortnight (see also, Never Events) my Sales brain has been inspired by possibly the world’s most welcomed (only because it is perceived as ‘free’), yet frustratingly dysfunctional organisation (because there’s precious little ‘service’), the UK’s National Health Service.

As the rolling news report I caught informed me, when it comes to elective operations (and based on an eye-watering four million procedures), “patients who have surgery on a Friday are 44% more likely to die than those who have their operation on a Monday“.

At weekends, the outcomes are an even more severe 82% worse than Mondays.

Several opinions on the study filled the airwaves. At present, differing outcomes seem due to not solely the reticence of consultants to stay off the golf course, but to the absence of any meaningful support services at the weekends.

What strikes me about this (notwithstanding the still very low number of deaths – 27,582 – among the 4,133,356 survey), is that a similar effect may well be at play regarding buyer decision making.

It was suggested to me long ago by many at the outset of my career (from marketing execs to line sales management) that the optimum days to cold call are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And that you must avoid the graveyard days of Monday or Friday. (I’m unconvinced on this.)

When it comes to maximising the impact of a meeting though, how less likely is a Board presentation to win if it takes place on a Friday? Attendees have all weekend to forget about your life-changing sparkle, don’t they? Or how more likely are you to prevail if you gather all the troops prospect-side Monday lunchtime, after which time you’ve all week to “move forward” on all those preciously crafted joint actions? There’s no data to go on out there, yet my hunch would be definitely to avoid a big meet on a Friday.

Yet a different type of weekday effect could well be seen. For instance in the form of a month-end effect.

Given the nature of selling, many a sales graph adopts the hockey-stick picture.

Slippage captured at the start of a sales period drops off to a sluggish time before end-of-period incentives create a sharp rise in orders.

Of course, many a final sales push can often coincide with a period-end. Yet what about all those meets leading up to it? Shouldn’t all your key forums during your campaign be planned to allow any impact to be maximised? In which case, the data logic of the NHS study may suggest holding court on the commercial equivalent of a hospital Monday. Never on the “Friday” when their support is not around…

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