You may have missed it, but I made a mistake in last week’s email. I wrote that one of my friends complEmented her husband, instead of ComplImenting her husband.

Not a big deal for some of you maybe, but for a grammar dictator like me, it was mortifying to read that a few days later. Now, I could give you the legitimate excuse, which is that while I fully know the difference between complementing (adding value to) and complimenting (praising), I edited my email on a mobile device which auto-corrected it to the wrong spelling for me. That would all be factually correct, but would miss the key point. The point is it was my fault, because I didn’t follow my process.

Most of the mistakes we make in life (and sales) come down to one of two causal elements.

1) We don’t have a process

2) We have a process and don’t follow it.

My WSF process is to write my Weds email on Monday evening, and re-read and edit it several times on Tuesday. From a computer, not a mobile device, and with a solid internet connection. That process does not hinge on Monday/Tuesday, as much as it does on a 24 hr/2-3x revision between writing and sending the email. I didn’t follow that process. Hence I fully own the mistake.

My 12 yo son is forgetful. Not unusual for a 12 yo, and certainly not something to be mad about. Knowing this, at the beginning of the school year, we came up with a process to address and handle this. He is expected to write everything down in a planner, and check it daily. Assignments, football practice, band concerts, Friend’s birthdays, EVERYTHING goes in the planner! No exceptions. I recently had to go cake shopping at 8pm because he forgot to write down that he was expected to bring in a cake for a class project. He wasn’t in trouble for forgetting (that’s just a condition of being 12). He WAS in trouble for not writing it down when it was assigned, and checking his planner that morning. He owned the mistake. As one of the guiding adults in his life, I am in charge of helping him set up processes that help him succeed.

Who’s in charge of your process? Who 100% owns the responsibility of making sure that the things that make you successful are organized with a process that prevents you from making basic grammar/syntax errors, or from forgetting about a cake, or from messing up a sales presentation? Invert the camera on your iphone and take a close look. YOU ARE.

I just had a conversation with a client who was struggling with a specific issue in her sales pipeline again. It was something we had worked on a month previously..
I thought we had that issue resolved?” I asked.

“Well, yeah, we did. What you taught me was working, but then I sort of fell back into my old habits and stopped doing that” She replied.

She stopped doing something that was working, that she knew was working? Why? Because she did not make it part of her process.

Selling without a sales process is like running a marathon without shoes. You can do it. It’s possible, but it is going to be a whole lot more painful than necessary. Don’t like my specific sales process? Fine. Use another. Even a mediocre process is better than no process at all.

If you’re managing a sales team and you’re not leveraging a process, how can you know what you need to coach, or where your people need help? You are flying blind.

Every expert uses some sort of process. You may not see it, but they do, and their success hinges on the discipline to follow that process, constantly tweaking and improving it as they make distinctions. Unless you work at KFC or Popeye’s, winging it is unacceptable!

So I ask again. Do you know your sales process? Do you OWN your sales process. Is it written down? Is it memorized? Managers, If I ask 4 people on your team what your process is, will I get the same answer? Will it be close? Most people don’t plan for fail. They fail to plan. Plan out your process and follow it.