During last week’s webinar 5 Keys to Getting Your Sales Year Off to a Fast Start, I shared that a major difference between top performing salespeople and average ones is how and what top performers measure and track.
Top performers are maniacal when it comes to measuring and tracking key performance criteria. Average performers measure and track grudgingly.
An even bigger difference is what they measure. Average performers (and their managers) over emphasize activity and/or results. The primary reason for this is that it’s very easy to measure either of these.
The problem with measuring activity is twofold:
- All too often the activities measured have little to no impact on results. For example, making more sales calls does not necessarily translate into success. At best, they may correlate to success.
- The focus becomes activity, rather than results. If we measure and track the number of calls, the natural focus becomes about making more calls. Quality of the call or the appropriateness of the contact is ignored. This often translates into increased activity, increased costs and less success.
It can be just as bad to over emphasize results. Again there are two issues with an over-focus on results:
- We do not control results. I could do everything right and still not make the sale.
- Results are trailing indicators, and are not predictive of success.
Top performers measure what I refer to as efforts. Here’s my definition of an effort:
- It’s a cause of sales.
- It can be influenced, meaning that we have control over whether it happens or not.
- It’s one of a critical few (you should never have to track more than 5 efforts).
Greg Maddux, one of the great pitchers of all times, never kept track of how many hits he gave or, or even balls and strikes. Instead he kept track of how many times he executed his pitch to plan. He knew he had no control over the result of a pitch, and that good execution would lead to good results over time.
Try it; you’ll be impressed with the results.
Sure enough, a day after I present our webinar 5 Keys to Getting Your Sales Year Off to Fast Start, my friend and advisor happens to send her newsletter out reminding everybody that if you think that nothing happens the next two weeks – you’re thinking just like your competition.
Master Door Opener Caryn Kopp, shares several valuable thoughts on making the next two weeks productive. It’s well worth the read.
My favorite point: Often time that hard-to-reach decision maker who never has time for you, is probably more relaxed and chatty than normal.
Download her article, act on it and you’ll enjoy a head start.
Yesterday, as I was conducting some sales training for a client, we were talking about the importance of understanding your customer and I was sharing some tools we use to help companies and salespeople gain a better understanding (feel free to download it).
I could tell from the look on a few people’s faces that this was something they hadn’t done before. So, I shared a fundamental insight I’ve gain through 20+ years working with thousands of salespeople.
The biggest difference between great salespeople (who earn 2 – 10x what good salespeople make, and take far more time off as well) and good salespeople is the work the great ones do when they’re not in front of the customer. It’s just like athletics – the great ones practice harder, study more and constantly work on their craft. When you watch how hard someone like Drew Brees works before the game, it’s no surprise that he breaks records and wins Super Bowls (even though physically he’s not an ideal quarterback).
Great salespeople realize that a single small insight, gained from doing discovery work before they meet someone can be the difference between landing a multi-million dollar sale, while bypassing the RFP process, and failing to make the first cut.
Good salespeople work hard, often harder than the great ones. The problem is they dedicate all of their work during and after they meet with someone. They don’t like the pre-call practice and work required to gain those insights.
As you make your 2012 resolutions and goals, resolve to put more effort up-front in your sales efforts. Your income and vacation plans will appreciate it.
By the way, if you’d like to get a jumpstart on this resolution we’ll be sharing 5 insights into getting your sales year off to a fast start on Tuesday. It’s a free webinar and there’s still space to register.