We all need plans and to have a sense of what we need to do to be successful. Very few sales people have written plans for their business or their personal goals. They tend to say: I know what they are and I know what I need to do. Yet at the end of a year they are rarely happy with the results they have created.
What are your plans?
What are your goals for this year? How much revenue do you need? What margin do you need to be selling at? How am going to find more new customers and what kind of customers do I want to attract? Most sales people know what they need to do. The issue is – How are you going to do it? The first step is to write things down and then begin to organize these thoughts into measureable goals. I can tell you that over 80% of the population has no written goals and that if you have no written goals then you will fall short of the things you want to achieve.
We live in a part of the world that has embraced a speed of life and the use of technology in a way that you have to be able to slow down at times to make sure you are doing the right things on any given day. You also must be real clear on what it is you need to do to be successful.
What written plans do you have to ensure you are going to be successful? I believe that at minimum you need to have a plan for your year that outlines the things you will need to achieve to be successful. Then you need to have some timelines set against those goals to ensure you get things done in a timely manner. Then on a weekly basis you have a written plan and to do list that itemizes exactly what you need to do this week. My experience is that if you do this you will be successful. Remember 80%+ of sales reps do not do this and most of these reps are not being successful.
What am I doing right now?
During the next few days take a moment in your busy day and stop yourself and ask the question: Is what I am doing or about to do a good use of my time right now. More importantly, in that moment – also ask yourself – What is it that I need to accomplish today that is most important to my business and/or my personal life. If you have a written plan for this week then you simply need to carry it with you and look at it to ensure what you are about to do helps you accomplish one of these tasks.
As sales people we take the path of least resistance. So we will go to our best customer and spend time with them because it is easy. We will hang around the office because it is safe. We will avoid doing the things that are “perceived” as difficult and leave those until tomorrow. And you know that when tomorrow arrives it is usually a last minute rush to deal with that issue or it is too late. When you have a plan you will tackle the tough issues and resolve them, you will take time and write a great proposal because you have given yourself the time to do so, you will plan for the big presentation and be ready to give a great presentation!
If you are just getting through your day, day after day, then it is only a matter of time before you run out of steam. More importantly that tread mill of rushing around and looking busy or being kept busy by all the things that come at you is caused by you not knowing what you need to be doing “right now”!
How do I do this?
Take the time to make your plans. Get into a routine of planning for the next week. Do it on Friday afternoon or Monday morning. Review your week and plan times for the things you need to do. Put them in your calendar and treat writing a big proposal like a meeting. You need to learn to block out all the distractions in your day, including turning your technology off at different times – so that you can focus on the task at hand. A study by Microsoft researchers tracking the e-mail habits of coworkers found that once their work had been interrupted by an e-mail notification, people took, on average, 24 minutes to return to the suspended task.
"The average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes, or approximately 7 an hour, or 50-60 per day. The average interruption takes 5 minutes, totaling about 4 hours or 50% of the average workday. 80% of those interruptions are typically rated as "little value" or "no value" creating approximately 3 hours of wasted time per day." (Dr. Donald E. Wetmore Productivity Institute)
What is your plan for success this year? What are you doing each week to make this happen?
What are you doing each day to move your goals to reality? What are you doing at this moment – and is t what you need to be doing? What are you doing to manage the interruptions in your day?
What am I doing today…
Bill Sayers speaks, coaches, leads education sessions and provides management consulting services to a variety of companies. Bill has been praised for his leadership, common-sense approach and ability to inspire sales people to new levels of success. His easy manner and strong public-speaking skills make him an engaging facilitator. Bill connects with senior executives and sales professionals alike, as he shares his real-life experiences and provides the appropriate tools and strategies for success in today’s business world.
Bill’s book Funnels & Forecasts – The Great Game of Sales is available on Amazon. Sayers Says: "This second edition was important for me. It has allowed me to have my book and its message sent out to a global audience. The feedback from readers has been that the book is an easy read and that there are lots of common sense advice and tools to help sales people be more successful in their sales game. Funnels and Forecasts - The Great Game of Sales will help sales people in their quest to improve their game."
He has been a professor at George Brown College teaching Personal Selling Skills to the Sports and Event Marketing Graduate Program, and is on the faculty of Canadian Professional Sales Association and Canadian Management Centre.