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Mar 30-Apr 5, 1998

Downloaditis—The Fatal Sales Disease

jack carrollby Jack Carroll

I have this friend and long time business associate named Hal. Hal has been putting together a book on sales training for the last two years. The book has some angle, he says, that no one has ever presented in the field and will be his magnum opus, following a 30-year career in sales and marketing.

For the last two years, Hal has spent three to five hours a day on the web gathering material related to the book's content. After visiting him at his office last week I concluded that the book will never be written and that Hal is lost in space, suffering from that chronic and often fatal disease to anyone on the web in sales or small business known as downloaditis.

Downloaditis is characterized by endless searching, researching, downloading, bookmarking, and printing of information found on the Internet. Information that will be used some day for something or other that is important to a potential project. The afflicted print everything and pile up reams of paper with no organizational structure whatsoever.

The material simply accumulates in growing stacks of paper on the floor without ever being looked at or evaluated. The intention is to sort through it one day and use it in some valuable way to save the world it deals with.

Practitioners from a new psychiatric specialty known as overloadology have concluded that there is only one known cure for downloaditis: Cessation of and abstinence from any additional researching, downloading, or printing activity for a minimum of one year, during which time the information that has already been obtained must be organized and put into some practical use.

Doctors indicate that using the material, the action piece of the therapy, is particularly valuable for salespeople, because that was such an important activity for this group before the advent of technology and research mediums like the Internet..

So, a word to the wise. If you are in sales, spend more than 1 hour a day on the web, and are beginning to manifest any of the above symptoms, take heed. Before the disease begins to spread, take some reasonable sales action with the material that you have accumulated during the onset of the sickness.

It's a certain cure and very profitable therapy. Overloadologists say that--if acted upon in the early stages of the illness--the information can actually help your selling results. Go figure.

Have a wonderful week in sales. And have some fun along the way.

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