When we run into some hard days in sales, it’s easy to start to panic and make drastic and unplanned changes.
“Skip all the training and just go for the sale.”
“Just be blunt and ask for the order.”
“Quote my lowest price right away and skip the games”
The thing is though, the sales process is very much like working out, in that the results are cumulative, and not immediately apparent.
A sales rep once walked up to my desk at a client site many years ago. He was down and mentioned he had just come off a really bad week. When I asked him what made the week so bad, he tallied off his activity and results. He had only closed one deal that week and felt he had been working hard for no results, because he had completed over 22 demos, and only seen one sign from it. The activity pacing plan for the company was a 3/1 ratio, meaning reps were expected to complete 15 demos a week, and 1/3 of them would close on average, to hit the 5 signs a week target. These numbers were not cooked up out of thin air. They were based on tracking and conversion data. Sure, some top reps could close 6-7 deals off 10 demos, but we knew the 15/5 model was the baseline for the team. Not one rep who averaged 15 demos a week ever missed their monthly goal.
I told the rep that he was incorrect. He had just completed an awesome week. 22 demos on a goal of 15? Wow! He wasn’t buying it though, because he only had one contract to show for it. I told him something along these lines:
“When you come see me next Friday, likely with 6 or 7 signed agreements, telling me what an awesome week you had, I am going to ask you how many demos you did. If your answer is less than 15, I am then going to tell you that you did NOT have an awesome week. You collected the results of previous awesome weeks of activity. This week was an awesome week, but you won’t be able to tell that until next week”
The farmer plants his field the year before. I know many people are having down days right now. Inflation and other economic factors have already started causing some companies to over react and cut back, same as many did in the early days of the pandemic. That means lost deals, price pressure, layoffs, cancelled raises and many other negative things. Easy to abandon what we know works on days like that.
If you are a well trained sales professional (you must be since you’re subscribed to this email) then let this week’s Sales Fix be a reminder to use your process and your activity plan with renewed determination in down times, with the faith that the seeds you plant today are the crops you harvest tomorrow. Conversions might shift a bit, temporarily, but the truth remains that you do NOT control results, you control activity.
If you need a break, take a break. A real break. Not one of those fakations when you’re glued to your phone or email. One day or one week, unplug and get your mind right. Then come back to the line, make a plan, and get back to work. Focus on the activity.