Ideas for Managing Change this Fall

Change is in the air, and it's everywhere !

today marks the season of personal Change...

  • Last week, we accelerated from 25 mph on Labor Day to 95 mph during the rest of the week.
  • Kids are back in school, and my first classes at Tufts were Wednesday two weeks ago.  I never know who's more concerned or awkward in that first class-me or the students.  Pretty sure, it's me!  
  • By the very nature of the rhythms of the seasons, the various clocks automatically adjust inside our head, and just by the fact of it being September, we're geared up and ready to be measured!  

Winhall General Store 2018-2In Vermont, down at the Winhall General Store, The Boys on the Bench know that it's "Taint Season". 

Taint summ'

Taint winta'

Taint leaf peepin' 

Taint plowin'

Just Taint nothin'


But in our business lives, there's nothing Taint about where we are today.  Since business is about just two things:  "Sales and a Lot of Other Stuff" (Thank you Professor Howard Anderson!), all of us in Sales  know that there's just about 85 days in which to close deals between now and the end of the year. 

Calendar 2019-SeptemberWell, not really...according to the calendar, since between now and the end of any effective selling time, there's 85 days in total until the end of the first week in December.  Subtract from that number that in those 10 weeks, each have two weekend days and then a couple of long weekends in October and November, and in a math minute, we're down to around 60 days for actual work with our customers, new prospects, our sales team and our managers.  Then from that balance of around 60 days, subtract a whole bunch of days for what will be required for your 2020 sales and budget planning. 

The bottom line is that there's not much time left in the year to sell stuff. As a result, we need to be hyper-focused and overly protective of (1) our time and (2) our ability to be bold and work as a real sales leader in everything we do!

There are two Basic sales Truths that we've learned over the years:

  1. The fact that time is inelastic and not expandable is an "of course", but what is another more personal truth today is that none of us have any time!  Zippo!  We're all squeezed!  "Let's grab a cup of coffee" is the most ridiculous sales lead that anyone can offer today in an environment where meetings are timed into 15-and 30-minute blocks.  
  2. The other basic truth is that "Current Course & Speed, Nothing will Change by Itself!" which is the simple reason that short term sales forecasting for a quarter or two is actually very easy.  Nothing can change the math of the short term since there are existing processes, tools, pipelines and people (both good and not-so-good) already in place.  

Since change is everywhere this fall, push yourself to change....

Be Bold!  Be Positive!  Be Remarkable !

  • Why not?  You're certainly worth it! 
  • Break a few least just a bit! 
  • Be noticeably different in the style in which you manage. 
  • Push everyone to embrace change and stop responses starting with "can't" and "don't"
  • Shake up your own schedules and the schedules of your team.
  • Introduce just one new easy-to-understand management or sales tool. 
  • Institute a new rally cry!  For this season, mine is "Actively Engage & Provide Value!"  
  • Be provocative and do anything that identifies a new sense of urgency for you and the team.

It's the start of the season no matter if you're an athlete, a salesperson, the leader of the company or an instructor here at Tufts!  You just need to ramp it up...and focus on being BOLD & REMARKABLE!

Jack Derby

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Advisor, Derby Management, experts in-
-Sales & Marketing Productivity
-Business and Strategic Planning

Director, TEC-Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Cummings Family Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship
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Tags: closing sales, best sales practices;, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship, sales motivation