How Do You Know?

In sales we often are so driven by emotion that we don’t stop and really analyze what is going on in our business. We just bebop through our day doing the activities we think will drive our business forward. We end the day on a high. We have accomplished every thing on our task list. We made two DM presentations that we feel really good about. We even found time to make a bunch of new contacts that we are convinced will turn into new customers. It seems our business is about ready to explode. Well to borrow a phrase from ESPN commentator Lee Corso,  “Not so fast my friend!”

Reality Check! You Might be Fooling Yourself.

Let’s break down your “GREAT DAY” one result at a time:

Your to-do list

Your to-do/task list for the day is completely pristine. You have checked off every single item. Fantastic, right? As long as the things that were on your list were goal achieving. Was picking up the dry cleaning on your list? Did you do it at 2:30 in the afternoon? Ouch! What opportunities for prospecting did you give up by wasting 30 minutes going to the cleaners? Yes it took you 30 minutes to pick up your dry cleaning. No seriously… even if your prior appointment was right around the corner from your cleaners, you lost 30 full minutes of productivity! Brain science shows us clear and compelling evidence that every time we switch tasks, it takes us 20 minutes to get back to full productivity. Oh yeah, you probably took at least 5 minutes in the store. And then as long as you were sitting in the parking lot you probably checked your email on your phone. And then…. I take it back.. You probably wasted 45 minutes of green time. At the end of the day did you do things right, or did you do the right things? Did you use your time wisely?

SOOO… How do you know?

I suggest conducting a time audit. Take an old fashioned piece of paper and break down every hour you are working into 15 minute increments. Then set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes. Whenever you timer goes off, write down what you were doing in the preceding 15 minutes. Do this for 3 days in the same week and then analyze the results. I promise it will be incredibly instructive as to your use of time.

Your Sales Presentations

The two DM presentations you gave were awesome. They both gave you incredible feedback!

The first DM told you they definitely want to move forward. They need to check on a few things and will call you to work out the details. You are so excited to have “closed the deal” that you don’t realize that it isn’t closed at all. Did they sign the paperwork/contract? Do you have an installation or enrollment date scheduled. Is there a clear future of how the rollout is going to look? Have they understood and accepted every condition (in writing) for moving forward? Unless you can answer yes to all of these questions you really don’t have a sale. It MIGHT turn into a sale, but right at this moment you have absolutely no way of knowing that.

SOOO… How do you know?

You can only know by nailing down every single detail necessary to move forward before ending your presentation. If you walk out the door without the details taken care of you will be hunting down your DM forever, even to the point of being obnoxious. Not very exciting now is it.

The other DM presentation is even worse. They were excited and “with you” the whole way. You really bonded. You like them and more importantly you absolutely believe they like and trust you. They even told you they want your products and services for themselves. Of course they still need to run it by their spouse/boss/silent partner/board of directors/accountant/lawyer/that guy they see every morning at Starbucks… You get the picture. I have seen these deals close. I also saw Bigfoot once…

SOOO… How do you know?

You can take the chance that you have educated the person in front of you, to such an extent in the last 30-45 minutes, that they can do your job for you. Or you can politely insist on scheduling a meeting with ALL decision makers together.

Your Prospecting Activity

You found time to make a bunch of new contacts that you think have a great chance of becoming customers. The gatekeepers were polite and the DMs even came to the counter to greet you! Maybe you didn’t schedule a bunch of appointments. O.k. you really only scheduled one appointment. The DM wants you to come in sometime next month to talk. That’s an appointment right? In sales you are definitely going to have days (sometimes days in a row) where you don’t schedule any DM appointments. If you keep on, keeping on, you are bound to get better, right?

SOOO… How do you know? 

You can only know you are improving if you know where you are now. Are you taking good notes? Are you tracking every attempt, success, failure and objection you are getting? What are your conversion ratios? What were they last week? Last month? You know you should be tracking your activity but it seems to be a pain and waste your time. You are right, it is a pain. However, I have yet to see anyone that was world class at anything that didn’t keep score.

Most People Don’t Want To Know

I’m convinced that the reason most people “Don’t Know” is that they don’t really WANT to know. As long as they don’t look too closely, it feels like they are making progress. It feels warm, safe and cuddly. They can tell their manager/spouse/creditors that they are making great progress and that their ship is about to come in. Most managers don’t ask hard, probing questions either because they too want to believe that sales are about ready to come pouring in. (But that is a story for another day.)

SOOO… How do YOU know? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Tim Martin

Tim Martin

Tim has spent the last 22 years in the VB sales world. During that time he has recruited and trained over 2,000 agents to get people to do what they should, but wouldn't do if we didn't come along. In addition to his leadership rolls at the two largest VB carriers on the planet, Tim has worked with outside organizations through consulting and sales coaching. His energetic and humorous key note addresses have also inspired and electrified audiences throughout the United States. Currently Tim is also working on his first book "Success Is Voluntary." Tim and the lovely Dizzy D reside in Peoria, Arizona. They have been married for 30 years and are the proud parent of two gorgeous grown young women, Brittny 29 and Victoria 26.

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