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In the meantime, every Wednesday, I’ll send you my weekly email specifically written for Sales Directors and Managing Directors who directly run a sales team. These emails are content laden with insights, inspiring ideas and practical tips you can instantly benefit from.
Like this one, sent out in April but still as just relevant today…
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous half-woman half-bird like creatures that lured passing sailors to their grisly demise with enchanting music and song…
For as the sailors veered towards the beautiful sound, their ships were smashed against the jagged reefs and rocky cliffs.
Ok, so I can hear you thinking…
What on earth has this got to do with sales?!
Well. I’ll get to that in a second.
You see, I’ve been working with a particular business for a few years now. One which has strong opportunities ahead. And since working together, they’ve experienced consistent growth and improved profits …
But if I’m honest … I’m a little worried.
Because for all our progress… they keep being lured by the beautiful Siren’s song.
Now, I’ve told them this so don’t worry no confidences are being divulged.
However, I see the same thing over and over with Sales Directors, Managing Directors and Sales Professionals.
Plans are made and a destination set.
A route is mapped, a goal is defined that will give them an outcome they desire for themselves. Or their company.
Then they wake up. Miles away and heading off somewhere else…
Ok. So, can I ask you a question…
The first quarter of this year.
Any idea where it went?
And I know I’m hammering this home. But it’s April now.
And the start of a new financial year for many companies. Maybe yours too?
So a brutal question…
How are your goals going for the year?
They on track… or slipping a little?
Ok. Don’t worry.
Because if they are, you’re not alone.
In fact, if we put everyone together it would be a pretty crowded room.
Full of even the people who are so-called experts in targets and goal setting.
So don’t beat yourself up.
Because it’s all about continuous progression towards what you want to achieve.
And that you finally get there.
So… really does it matter if you’re a little bit late to the party… Because at least you got there.
But here’s the important bit.
As long as you end up at the party you wanted to go to. The destination you set.
And not to someone else’s?
You see, getting back to the business I mentioned, they are making great headway.
Except they keep getting lured by that Siren’s song. Stuff that distracts them off track. Away from their ultimate goals. And their plans.
Now don’t get me wrong.
They are making good headway. Double-digit growth in fact …
However, they are not quite living up to the potential that they could.
Rather than focusing on proven products that are in demand and dominating the market; they’re off investing in unknown technologies that will most likely distract everyone, cost a lot of money. And could mean they lose market share on products that are known to work well…
So, thinking about it…. isn’t is logically better to dominate the proven markets first and then innovate into new spaces afterwards…?
Now you may ask, what’s going on here … And why is it we as business owners or sales professionals lose our way?
Well, it is often because business plans and personal goals are often too difficult to be easily remembered.
You exert sweat, blood and tears to create complex and comprehensive business plan.
And then after all your hard work, it’s shoved in a drawer.
Buried under other paperwork.
Because suddenly life gets busy and customers make demands.
Until eventually when you remember to drag it out and dust it off many months later, the plan no longer looks like anything you are trying to achieve.
So here’s the insight for you.
Circling back to Greek mythology, Odysseus was curious to hear what the Sirens sang to him. So he had all of his sailors plug their ears with beeswax so that they couldn’t hear anything and then tie him tightly to the mast so he couldn’t move.
And he instructed his crew, that no matter how much he protested, they shouldn’t untie him until they’re well away from the island and safely out of earshot.
That is what your plan should be.
The mast to tie yourself to.
So that you do not get lured by the beautiful music and enchanting Sirens. Singing their hearts out trying to take you off course and shipwreck you on your journey.
But… here’s the problem.
If massive plans tend to get written and then forgotten, what should you do?
Well, the easiest way to keep on track, it is to refine it right down.
Now don’t get me wrong here. This is real life and you may need the complex business plan and comprehensive targets for the business. But you can’t do all of it at once. And there will be a core direction the business is travelling in. Or that particular teams have to work towards.
Such as “go wide in your market with existing proven products that you know there’s a good demand for … before you add any new products to the range”.
Or “increase sales by 20% by dominating a specific and currently underperforming niche”.
Or “spend 10 hours a week prospecting for new customers so that the business grows in a specific direction”.
Making it such a simple statement makes it easy to remember.
And easy to validate and sanity check any “real and unmissable opportunities” against to ensure they actually fit in with the ethos of your overarching business objectives.
I hope so.
Now you’ve got two options.
Ignore this email…
Or actually, test it for Q2 2018.
Review your plans today and refine them right down to a post-it note’s worth of clear and easily remembered directives and goals that are really important to you.
Then write it down onto a bright coloured note and stick it onto your screen or the bathroom mirror at home so it is always visible.
And any more than a post-it note’s worth won’t work so well because it is too much to easily remember.
Then, whenever you hear the lure of a Siren’s song, you can steadfastly ignore the distraction and sail through towards an incredible Q2 full of hit targets and ticked off goals.
Let me know how you get on!
PS, Remember to watch out for next Wednesday’s email. 11am, sharp.