One of the many statistic that hockey types track (hey I am Canadian,) is a player’s Plus/Minus. Simply speaking, when an even-strength or shorthanded goal is scored, every player on the ice for the team scoring the goal is credited with a “plus.” Every player on the ice for the team scored against gets a “minus.” Over the course of a season or subsets of it, a player’s number is arrived at by subtracting the Minuses from the Pluses. A player with an overall Plus, is considered to be among other things a positive contributor, and those with an overall Minus, well not that great. Not a perfect measure, but an interesting one sales people should consider using.
As sales professionals, everything we do should positively contribute to attaining revenue, and therefore a Plus. Things we do that do not directly or indirectly result in revenue generation, a Minus. While the measure in sales is considerably more open to subjectivity than in hockey, it is still worth considering how our actions either contribute to, or detract from success. Are we contributing positively, or just wasting of time without much positive impact. It is always good to remember that time is the great equalizer, we all start out with 1440 minutes each and every single day, the question always becomes how well we utilize those precious minutes.
Since we are at the start of the “season” (at least most with companies with calendar fiscals), it is a good time to give this measure some attention, especially since the ultimate goal is to be in the positive. Once you conquer and manage that on a consistent basis, you have the opportunity to strive for continuous improvement, a continuingly higher Plus score.
To begin the process you need three simple things, a sheet of paper, a pencil, and some brutal honesty. Why the brutal honesty? because you will have to determine if the action you have just taken, contributes to revenue generation, or not. Just to help you out a bit, watching one of the SellBetter videos on You Tube, is a Plus, watching “GASSY PETS!”, a Minus.
I am not suggesting that it should be nose to the grindstone all day long, not only would that hurt, but it is not the intent or a means of achieving a Plus score. The beauty of +/-, is that it looks at the overall picture, not the blow-by-blow. I remember reading somewhere that sales people are only productive 23% of their working time, which seemed low, later I found out that things like driving to the prospects office were excluded from productive time. On the other hand, there a whole bunch of things we do that measurably cut into our prime time, and reduce our sales effectiveness.
So get your pencil and paper, and for the next week or two, track your activities and then mark each one as either a Plus, contributed to real revenue generation; or Minus, no did not contribute to revenue generation, or in fact may have impeded it. The goal here is to achieve an overall Plus score, not to make you a dull sales robot (there are enough of those already), with every activity scoring a Plus. Yes, it is OK to occasionally buy tickets online from the office for the “Big Show”; but you need to be cognisant of the fact that it needs to be balanced and out done by more Plus activities.
The measure is simple and certainly not foolproof, but as in hockey, it is one of a number of metrics that help you understand where you are, and steps you can take to improve. As in hockey you also don’t have to go it alone to create the necessary change, you can include your coach or peers in helping you stay on track and be accountable for you actions and outcomes.
What’s in Your Pipeline?