The other day I was coaching a rep who was not buying into any sort of planning at all. More than fly by the seat of his pants, you could call this guy a “spiritual seller”, it seem to be his only guide and benchmark. No matter what he was presented with by his manager or I that in any way related to structure, he quickly set aside with a counter argument; an argument which usually impressing him more than me.
I finally asked a question for which he did not have an instant answer, one that seemed to make him think: “How do you know if you have had a good week?” Other than feeling good about himself, how would he know? There was little he could point to, and I guess he did want to have “good weeks”, because he became open to ideas.
As a first step we broke it down to three things:
Planning – Since “good” in the context of what we were looking at was a relative thing, without a clear plan there was no “relative” scale. Planning allows you to draw that line in the sand that goes from Point A, where you are now, and Point B, where you want to be at the end of the week. To ensure the exercise has merit, the plan needs to be directly tied to a specific objective, in this case sales goals. Specific results, and specific activities that move you towards near term and long term objectives. By making planning a constant rather than an event, you can accomplish a lot, in small steps, and continue to make improvements along the way.
Time – A plan is just a first step, it then has to be actualized, even with a simple activity based plan tied to goals, you need to commit to a time when you will actually complete key activities required to successfully achieve your plan. As they say hope is not a plan, but you have no hope if you run out of time before you complete those key activities. It’s all well and good to say that you will do this that and the other, but to avoid it just being talk, or just another thought swirling around in “the canyons of your mind”, you need to schedule it. Put specific activities in your calendar, and then ensure that you manage those activities within the allotted time.
Execution – Now that you have a plan, set time aside to do the activities required by the plan, you need to do it, sometimes the hardest but most rewarding part. As the saying goes, deciding to do something and doing it are two different things. You know that in sales it is all about Execution – Everything else is just Talk!
Taking these three simple steps, perhaps small steps at first, then building on the success will help you have one good week after another, the good quarters, and years to follow.
Have a good week!