Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Are you hitting your numbers?
How many leads did you run this week?
How many follow-up calls did you make today?
How much high-quality volume did you book this month?

These questions are relentlessly driven into our heads, and for good reason. For many sales professionals, there is often pressure to reach quota or attain a certain level of performance. While having a monthly sales goal keeps your eye on the prize and your focus on the end result, it may actually do more harm than good.

Often salespeople say, "Results aren't showing up fast enough." At the end of each selling month, frustration and stress overwhelm as salespeople scramble to do their best to close sales and meet their numbers.

If selling is, in part, a transference of feeling, imagine the feelings that you're transferring to your prospects. The stress and anxiety of having to close more sales inadvertently puts undue pressure on your prospects and fosters an unhealthy relationship from the start.

The irony is, this constant push to reach sales numbers keeps you hooked on the goal and diverts your efforts away from refining the selling process needed to generate more business. The quandary then becomes "I'm too busy to work on my process. I have numbers to meet!"

Consider this paradox: The result is the process. In other words, what if you shifted your attention away from your quota or the end result and onto the process?

After all, what's the point of eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream: to get to the end or to savor every bite? How about the goal of a self-care or an exercise regimen? Unless you're in it to compete professionally, it's to maintain a level of health, vitality, and personal satisfaction.

The same holds true for measuring productivity, maintaining your peace of mind, and experiencing a sense of achievement at the end of each day.

After all, you don't do the result; you execute the process. The result is a natural byproduct of your efforts. That's the paradox. By honoring the process, you can enjoy the benefit of knowing that you will attain your goals, since the process will get you what you want. Imagine building a house without a blueprint!

To generate better results, you must either change what you do or change how you think. To continually exceed your sales goals and better manage your mindset, alter your thinking to become process driven rather than result driven.

Ask yourself if you have processes in place -- for sales, prospecting, follow up, time management, customer service -- that you can trust. When you look at your daily schedule, does it outline the specific and measurable tasks and activities in which you need to engage to move you towards your goal?

Chances are, salespeople who are solely focused on the end result don't have a process in which they have faith. As such, they concentrate more on trying to control the outcome; pushing for what they want rather than managing their process. After all, you can't trust and manage the process if you don't have a process in place!

Trying to achieve more without a process to guide you is like driving from New York to California without a road map while wearing a blindfold. Not only is it stressful, but you're bound to wind up somewhere other than your intended destination.

Schedule time to develop your process for attaining each goal in order to have a clear path. As a starting point for developing your process, review your successful sales. For example, if you're looking to generate a certain number of sales each month, what daily activities will help you reach that goal? What skills or tools need further development? For example, work to refine your introductory cover letter or e-mail, create a solid template for your prospecting and voice mail approach, and increase the frequency of follow-up calls. Thinking about and carrying out these tasks directs your focus to the process.

Once you have outlined a path and a success formula to follow -- X number of calls produces X number of prospects which produces X number of sales -- allow the doing, that is the process, to be the reward and the pleasure, not just the end result. This way, you can be responsible for your future goals without having to worry about them. If you continue your quest with your eyes focused on the finish line, you'll miss out on the journey. Therefore, be careful not to hook yourself onto the future and enjoy the process of reaching your goals today.

Knowing your limit provides you with the freedom to trust the process that you've put in place. After all, there's always more to do. There's always more that can be done at the office, at your home, or in your life; another call that can be made or another e-mail that can be read.

Exceeding your monthly sales quota will be the result of the cumulative efforts you make and the day-to-day activities in which you engage. When you're mindful of the process, you have the opportunity to recognize and to celebrate your accomplishments -- even the little ones -- rather than pushing for or waiting until the "end." Because when do we ever get there?

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