No, it's not hunting season in Vermont. That's in the fall last I looked, and I'm pretty sure about that since it's one of the few times of year that I don't venture too far into the woods. Largely because there are 21,000 guys out there every day stumbling around in clothes fashioned on the theme of "Mr. Deliverance goes to Wal-Mart" all with guns and live ammunition. Scares me just to think about it.
But the camouflage thing happens six months from now. This time of year, the hunters are the critters. The Vermont bears have already destroyed our first bird feeder of the season. The replacement feeder (bought two just in case) was much cheaper than the steel door to the garden room that we lost to the bears last year. Similarly, I just carted the remains of the NH feeder to the dump last Saturday. Have no idea what hit it at full force, but all that was left were lots of little pieces none bigger than a couple of inches of steel mesh.
Our new spring visitor above, a Barred Owl, who showed up two weeks ago, is a highly skilled hunter-definitely the top of the food chain. Not only does he have all of the skills necessary to be The Best Hunter in the Woods, he's figured out how to optimize the kill zone down to the nth degree of high efficiency. Right below him is the bird feeder, but he's not at all interested in the birds; he leaves that up to the hawks hiding in the trees above who are not going to screw around with a bigger (3-4 foot wing span) hunter than they are. By giving protection to the feeder from the hawks, he actually lures the birds in and let's them kick around the birdseed, which, of course, falls to the ground and which, of course, attracts those tasty squirrels and chipmunks.
Typically, secretive and nocturnal, this Hunter is maximizing his opportunity since he's discovered that this particular territory is full of potential. Given supply and demand, I would expect that he'll move on to new markets in a week or two. Good for the owl and good for me since experience has taught me that too many squirrels are not good for our cedarshake house.
Although spring supposedly came to Vermont a few weeks ago, the yard is still a glacier of a foot or more of snow packed thick from rain, sleet, more snow and the constant winds of the last couple of weeks. Had to push the spring cleanup crew back to the beginning of May. Spring is out there somewhere; just not this April. In the meantime, the most efficient Hunters own the still snow-packed woods.
Efficiency and effectiveness: two superb traits in any professional hunter, whether it's our Barred Owl or heavily experienced salespeople. In the world of owls, it's apparently about survival of the fittest. In the world of salespeople today, it's always about years of experience and learning and honing new skills. Selling today is radically different than it was 5 years ago, and it continues to quickly evolve. The question is whether we and our salespeople have recently made an objective, detailed assessment of our hunting skills?
Keep Selling !
As we enter what we regard as the most critical quarter of the year, we would recommend retuning your sales plans for at least the next quarter and preferably right up through September. As a result, we put together two detailed documents to help you through what is sometimes a difficult process.
The first is an easy-to-read 2011 Tactical Sales Planning Guide. Hope you find it useful.
Our second document is the 2010 edition of "Writing The Winning Business Plan". A 10 year work in the making, this 75 page book will undergo a major rewrite this summer and be released on our new website, so if you have any edits, comments, examples or stories that you want to be included, let us know.
Hope you find these useful, and any comments and edits would be greatly appreciated.
-and the rest of the managers on the team-
Jan Olmstead: Marketing & Customer Voice Surveys,
George Pilla: Early stage interim CFO
Frank Porter: Operations & Manufacturing
George Simmons: Finance, Sales Optimization, Senior management