Perspective...in life, in Sales and about Steve
I escaped from the end of the quarter Sales Crunch Time late last Friday, and went to Vermont this past weekend for the The Annual Fall Cleanup. It’s always a chore but also a relief to get through another summer season and start preparing for the winta'. It’s just a bit of disbelief that the summer came and went, and I only made it back to my home state of Vermont once, and that trip was with customers for an offsite. Those six generations who came before me were doing the proverbial rollover wondering what the heck happened to their Vermont son. But my addictions to the NH beach and now Stratton’s beckoning snowboard trails help me put everything into perspective. I just follow the seasons and the rhythm of our customer’s annual business calendars, and everything seems to fall neatly into place-very hectic and squeezed-but in place, all the same.
Last Friday I was at one of my favorite customers sweating out Crunch Time with them on the last day of the month on the last month of the quarter. This is a great company, a highly polished solid sales and marketing team with an excellent culture and a solid track record, but here we were down to the wire still waiting for those orders to drip in. At the end of the day, I was talking to Mike, the CFO, about the month, the quarter and this issue of Crunch Time. We talked a lot about current sales performance and ideas to ensure their continuing strong growth during 2012, which all came down to Mike’s comment on a particular issue, which was “perspective” and his line from Chief Brody in the movie, Jaws, “That it’s only an island, if you look at it from the water.”
On my long drive to Vermont that night, I thought a lot about this issue of perspective on how I plan my own sales and marketing activities for the business and then reflected on other sales managers with whom we work and their perspectives on their own quotas, their competitiveness in the market, their personal management concerns and their perspectives on growth.
“Small” or "Deep" is often small or deep because that’s the perspective that a salesperson takes as to their territory, their ability to sell their products and their ability to compete in the market. I've seen "A" level salespeople succeed year after year in 10 blocks in Manhattan while "B" level salespeople with small perspectives, selling the same product with wide swaths of the Midwest as their territory, achieve less sales in the same quarter. Too often the whine is about the territory, when in fact, the real issue is market perspective and the need for much better sales planning.
Steve Jobs had a different perspective as to his own ability and the ability of his management team to totally restructure Apple from a failed also ran with less than 2% market share into an innovative powerhouse and one of the most valuable companies in the world. We're all going to miss Steve’s perspective on business, growth, teams and products, but the very good news is that his perspective has energized many of us to dream, to stretch and to think way beyond where we are today.
Good Selling, today. There are now a total of only 65 maximum selling days left in the quarter. Figure out which of those are your most productive, protect your time and take an unrelenting perspective as to your ability to make an impact between now and December 31st.
Derby Management, Box 171322, Boston MA 02117