Business leaders in my experience will always lament that there’s a lot of activity in their organisation, but their desired results not being achieved. The incremental revenue growth is just not happening.
And they’re usually right – there is a lot of activity, everybody certainly appears to be busy – But hard work and good intentions alone do not get results.
In my generation, a good work ethic was a badge of honour. It’s what made us a valuable employee and I still believe you need a strong work ethic to succeed. However, just blindly working harder and harder, doing more and more to achieve more is really a fast-track to a complete breakdown – a business failure and personal or relationship breakdown.
There’s an old saying that really sums this up: “If hard work alone guaranteed success, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire!” According to psychologists, relentlessly working harder and harder creates a condition commonly known as "Brain Fog" where our brain is clouded with the chemical Cortisol. This keeps us in a constant state of exhaustion and distraction, diminishing our effectiveness. We are literally on a treadmill, spinning our wheels and getting nowhere, FAST.
So how do you achieve sales success in your organisation? The answer is simply: FOCUS. Focus can be an acronym for ‘Follow One Course Until Successful’.
And following one course, means having a clear, compelling vision of where you want to be
Defining the Course You Will Take
Have a clear, compelling, magnetic Vision for where you want to be. Once you know exactly where you’re going, you need to look at what is going to take you there – your product or service. What is your value proposition? Why are your clients or customers going to choose you over your competitors and what problem does it solve for them?
Who are your ideal clients or customers? You need to identify them and why they need your product or service enough to buy.
Then you need to calculate your sales activity, starting with the end in mind. Then based on your current conversion rates, you need to estimate how much activity is needed for each stage of the sales conversion cycle. If you don’t know your conversion rates, you should, so it’s time to start recording everything so you have this essential information.
You then need to systematise your sales: document the best practices for each stage of the sales process, from prospecting, qualifying the lead, handling objections, converting them and then building a relationship to ensure complete sales. Your team should be confident with applying these best practices through the entire process.
Establish minimum standards of the kind of effective activity you need each week to drive results. Ensure your team is clear on what is expected of them and then hold them accountable for their results. Make sure the disciplines are in place to get things done and don’t accept excuses.
Activities that bring low results should be delayed, abandoned completely or delegated to other staff not in the sales team. You must eliminate as many activities as possible, that are taking up time but not producing outcomes.
Even when you have achieved all this, you can’t rest on your laurels – you must ‘Inspect what you expect’ – work with your sales team, accompany them on client visits, listen to their phone calls and get feedback from customers they’re dealing with. That way you’ll know what is really happening rather than relying on what you imagine is happening.
Continually train and improve your team, do role plays on objection handling and give them direct feedback as a coach would. Don’t expect immediate results, but stay the course, making incremental improvements every day. This is what creates sustained growth. Just when you’re sick of it, you are probably on the verge of a major breakthrough.
The amazing thing about FOCUS – Following One Course Until Successful, is that it results in us doing less work in the end – We are just focusing on the tasks that create results – so we achieve more, with less effort.
By creating a high performance sales culture, we find the time to achieve those results.