A beige paper price tag with three red dollar signs on it
It's the law of the price tag: pay now, play later

The law of the price tag: Every success has a price tag. When we pay the price on the front end, it is always less than on the back end. The greater the success, the higher the price to be paid. And the price we are willing to pay always determines our success. The more we pay earlier, the more success we can achieve later.

Paying Later

Long ago, there was a television commercial for motor oil featuring a mechanic who advised that if you didn’t use his brand, it would cost you more in repairs later. His motto was, “You can pay me now, or pay me later.” He correctly predicted that the cost for not doing simple oil changes now would cost much more in the future. Little things we do now keep us from doing more tomorrow to make up for not acting.

“Preparing well today for the future prevents repairing tomorrow.” — John Maxwell


We know that if we buy anything on credit, the interest costs will increase the total price of the purchase. The same is true for selling (and just about anything else in life).

If we make more sales calls today, they will pay off in the future. If we visit the prospect or call them one more time, it will save us from finding someone new to call because we let this one “slip away.” (And you know the effort it takes to build rapport with a new prospect.) If we invest more time today, we can have more free time to play tomorrow. Basically, if we put in the extra effort now, it will save us more effort down the line.

Investing in your future on the front end will pay huge dividends on the back end.

Too many people have no patience for investing time and money into developing sales with long-term goals. We really need more “slow cooker sales,” instead of the low-hanging fruit of “microwave” efforts.

Planning Ahead

What are you doing today to prepare for tomorrow? In the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Captain Barbosa says to captive Elizabeth Swann just after she attempts to stab him with a knife, “After killing me, what is it you’re plannin’ on doin’ next?” She hadn’t thought that far ahead. She only thought of the immediate moment — not facing the entire crew of pirates, getting off the boat or getting home safely.

My wife and I watch crime television shows. The part that always stuns us is when a criminal carefully plans to kill a person for the insurance money, and they don’t have a clue as to what they will do next — how to hide the weapon, clean up the crime scene, dispose of the body, get away and hide out from law enforcement or convince the insurance company that they are innocent in order to get the money. They fail to plan ahead and most often get arrested.

“A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” — Colin Powell

The top complaint I hear from sales managers is that sales associates don’t think ahead and invest in prospects. They refuse to make the next call, neglect making a long list of active contacts and prospects, simply drop off a flyer or brochure, and worst of all, won’t ask for the sale. They appear to be satisfied with putting in less effort now and hoping it will pay off later. They want more results but less investment to acquire them. But the price tag of not preparing today will be greater tomorrow.

Everything of value is more expensive if you put off paying the price tag today.

Buy anything of value. If you don’t pay the full price today, it will cost more when you pay it off over time. If you invest early in a project, the cost will go down if you do the work now, rather than if you put it off until the future.

There are clients we wish we could have called on one more time. They hired someone else while we waited on them to call us. There are organizations that we wish we had known about years ago, but we didn’t put in the time to reach out or research them. We simply didn’t invest in the hard work early, and now we regret not putting in the effort.

Dress for Success

At the Continental Congress where America decided to fund an army to fight Great Britain, a discussion arose about who should lead it. All of the delegates in attendance (except for one) were dressed in the professional business wear that businesspeople wore in the 18th century. The lone standout wore his officer’s militia uniform each day. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin noticed that he looked like a military leader and nominated him to command the Continental Army. His name was George Washington. He got the job he dressed for because it impressed the others.

We must behave on the level we want in life if we hope to get there.

Why would a CEO give an average person’s yearly wage in one check to a person who looks careless on their first impression? Why would a sales manager trust you with a large account if you choose to not look and act the part of a successful account executive?

Everyone notices a person who dresses for success.

Success and influence are contagious. When someone looks successful, other people notice, including your fellow sales associates and future prospects.

At a training event, a young man walked into the room dressed extremely well. Everyone assumed he was an expert. As a matter of fact, he was one of the attendees, but he commanded respect from everyone each day and wound up impressing everyone. It was contagious; the next day, most of the group showed up looking well-dressed.

Doing the ‘Did’

The price of success increases daily. The cost always goes up. Ask a successful person how they got where they are. They will say they had to pay some price to become successful. I heard a successful man say to people who told him they want to do what he does, “To do what I do, you have to do what I did!” He meant that if you want to do what he is doing today, you must be willing to put in the work of what he “did” to get to that point. John Maxwell calls this “doing the did.”

Successful salespeople know that a greater return requires a higher investment.

I’ve met people who want to be successful in business but only perform the least amount of work to get there. Then they wonder why they haven’t been discovered. If you have a dream, you have to work at it diligently, constantly and early — not casually. Do the “did.”

There are no missed opportunities. Why? Because someone else almost always seized that opportunity when we didn’t. We missed out on the results, not the opportunity. It was there for whomever wanted to take it — and someone else did! Do the “did”!

“No matter how hard you work, someone else is working harder.” — Elon Musk

A goal is a dream with a deadline on the back end. If someone else sets your goal, it isn’t your dream. If you want something badly enough, take the initiative and do it. I guarantee that if you don’t, someone else will do the “did”! Vidal Sassoon observed, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Make a list of what you want and what it will cost you to obtain. Where do you want to live? Who do you want to include in your circle of influence? What quality of life do you want to have in 10 years? When do you want to comfortably retire? How much are you willing to invest to make that list a reality in your life?

We must pay the price early. Invest in the future now. The cost will increase the longer we put it off, and someone else who is willing to pay the price will reap more than we do if we allow this moment to pass unfulfilled. What’s in your slow cooker? The more you pay today, the less you pay tomorrow and the more you can play.

Jim Mathis, IPCS, CSP, CSML, is the Reinvention PRO, an International Platform Certified Speaker, Certified Speaking Professional, member of the John Maxwell Team and bestselling author of “Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.” For more information on how Mathis and his presentations can benefit your organization or group, call 404-922-8199 or visit jimmathis.com.


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