"Plan A" this morning in Vermont-right at the start of school vacation week-would have been to have blue skies, six feet of snow already on the ground and morning freshies providing the perfect first runs. Instead, we have...
Tags: Sales Best Practices, small business management, business coaching, how to close sales, best sales practices;, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022businessplansuccess
With a heat wave blanketing southern Vermont, it's 34 degrees out by the barn this morning at 7:00.
Like you, I'm prepping for a busy day with two critical sales events on today's calendar to actually close deals I've been working on for two months. Just need to get to that high five twice before 5 tonight. Totally confident...almost
First, and most importantly this morning is to congratulate you on finishing the Q on plan!
I never use the word "hopefully on plan", since "hope" has no place in today's fast-paced environment of Sales or Marketing. It's always great, of course, to be "lucky" every once in a while, but that's like hitting Powerball last Wednesday night or hoping the Patriots win this Sunday, so I'm going to stick with congratulations for finishing the Q on plan!
This time of year, in between Zoom and Team calls, I've been ankle-deep in the dirt and last weekend's mud in the gardens in both NH and Vermont planting, cutting and weeding. It's good for the soul and my hyper-sense of organization to be able to dive into the deep end of the mud and "get er done" no matter what the weather...or the business...forecast is.
- Right here at the beginning of June, our Q2 business forecast is looking pretty good among all of our clients now working through the details to end with a robust close to the quarter. Concerns about supply lines and labor unknowns are obviously top of mind, but business forecasts in general seem to be solid for the next four weeks.
- When I got in the car last night to drive from Boston to Vermont for a day of morning meetings and garden work this afternoon, the weather forecast also looked pretty good, and I planned my calls and meetings for the day around that forecast. Early this AM, it's a raw 55 degrees and pouring rain, but somehow the outside work still needs to be completed between lawyer calls at 10, a weekly Team meeting at 11 and a F2F 3:00 new client meeting this afternoon.
Bottom line is that weather forecasts change all the time, and of course, we have zero control, but yet, the work still needs to be completed. Business plans and sales forecasts go through just as many variations as the unknowns of the weather, but at the end of a week like today and the end of the quarter in less than four weeks, sales quotas still need to be met and operating plans and product commitments completed just as we forecasted.
As anyone who has seen my Vermont woodlot, everything is "neat & tidy" especially in the spring and summa'. That organization allows me ready access to a season's worth of kindling and two of the four cords of wood I burn every winter.
Having everything organized and "in its place" is the way I work out in the woods and also in my management consulting work since that level of organization allows me to have "extra time" when the weather changes or in the case of work, unexpected client speed bumps occur.
Had a very exciting, stimulating and actively engaging discussion end of the day yesterday with 30 of our CEOs, presidents and senior leaders of our customers on the 2021 workplace, and I thought that I'd share with you this morning a few of the takeaways.
I write this this afternoon at the end of an extraordinarily cataclysmic week.
I could not even begin to provide any meaningful content today that has not been said better and more fluently by much more knowledgeable people than me.
I guess on the day before Christmas, I could wish for world peace, freedom from all hatred, an ability to embrace diversity at all levels and, of course the best health for you, your families, your friends and your employees...and, of course, I do hope for all of that.
a few Reasons to be thankful!
We just finished what I always consider to be "the best holiday of the year".
--no one really worked last Wednesday, and even if you did, your prospects may not have.
--definitely, no one worked Thursday, and we celebrated with whomever was safe.
--most people did not work Friday other than in retail or necessary services.
--two days of good weather on the weekend came next.
--and yesterday, we closed out November's quota...hopefully on plan!
now it's Tuesday & we have 20 selling days left
20 days are actually a ton of time to do what we do as sales pros!
With the correctly qualified accounts, all of us, as the seasoned pros we are, have enough time to push down the field, mount play-after-play, bring together the right team and move almost any deal to a close. That's this week, still early in the game with lots of time left on the scoreboard.
Next week, not so much time left since we'd already be in the second half of the selling month in pre-holiday time.
The following week, we have no time at all unless we're just a few relative yards/minutes away from pulling everyone over the goal line.
Here's a couple of tactics that always work...
1. Focus on the 80/20 Rule!
Today, as in today-Tuesday-separate out the 20%, (maybe it's only the 10%) of what's in your pipeline that will make the biggest impact on your quota. In fact, one or two of these opportunities may also be the most difficult and will take maximum time and effort, which is why you're focusing today on the 20% since you have a full 20 days to get to a close. Plenty of time in fact to make a difference in almost any deal.
2. Get rid of the detractors & interrupters!
The good side of being zoom-distanced is that there are fewer office-talk interruptions although your WFH time may be equally challenged by kids and pets. The very good news is that you have 20 days. Multiply that by 10 hours, and you have a ton of time. The reality of that news is that you have only 20 days.
- My buddy, Frank Y., who excels as a BDR, works time zones following the sun across the country.
- My neighbor, Ray, moves his office to the garage, during the kids' home-schooling hours.
- I'm up even earlier at 4:00 AM planning out three days ahead and getting rid of the mental clutter.
3. Clean up your calendar!
- Today, plan out all of your selling days for the rest of the year and just jam into those same time blocks everything you think that you will need to do between now and then.
- Then take an expanded view of what you have just done and make sure that it makes sense balancing what time blocks you now have in your 20-day calendar and what time you have available to actually sell. Try to view your calendar as if you were 20 feet above the view and not able to see the details other than the available time to sell.
In some sales markets such as recruiting and real estate, these are called "the money hours", which these highly trained salespeople know from experience are the two or four optimum times during a day to connect with a prospect. The point here is to take a hard look at what you have available to sell and simply get rid of everything else and forklift it over to January. Yes, January!
- I'm a fanatic about time, and I just did this exercise yesterday morning and realized I had overlapping times in two critical presentations and was not allowing enough travel time Wednesday night to prep for a critical early Thursday call.
- Make sure that you ask your December prospects what their vacation plans are for December and also extend that question to everyone else in the purchasing approval cycle. Nothing's worse than trying to track down someone in the legal department for a cursory review of the final approval docs when that person is on the ski slopes between Christmas and New Year's.
- For sales management, there's the added reality during these same 20 days of having to spend some time fine-tuning the 2021 sales plans you submitted to your boss and the finance people in November. Another reality for sure, and there's no way around that other than weekend work. Having dealt with this at all levels for 25 plus years, if you want a few ideas as to how to compress time and focus your planning on the sales and financial KPIs that really count, just connect for a no-cost call.
No, this is not another statement on what you need to do to prevent infection. You already know more than the basics by this time. This relates to doing whatever you need to do to stay healthy, efficient, alert and sales-effective through the balance of this month which comes down to the simple truths of exercising, getting enough sleep and eating correctly...just like Mom told us.
We all know the basics, and, yet most of us struggle with finding enough time or dealing with the realities of not being able go to our favorite gym which we left back in March.
I certainly would rather be back at my workout place in Boston which I last saw on March 9th than walking down into the basement at 4:00 and getting on the Peloton for 30 minutes. But I also know the mental impact of what 30 minutes can make in clearing out the clutter and focusing me for the day ahead.
Nothing earth-shattering or even new in the four-point outline above...other than the reality of 20 days of superb opportunities in front of us today!
Have a great day selling today...and for the next 19!
CONFIDENTIAL SOUNDING BOARD
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board in business planning or for Sales or Marketing, just connect with me at any time. Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a pretty good listener.
Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.
A solid summa' in spite of Covid, social unrest, racial injustice, job losses, business closings and then of course, the back-biting and mud -slinging of the election, but other than that...a solid summa'!
Tags: Sales Optimization, sales coach, sales effectiveness, sales producitivity, how to close sales, best sales practices;, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, writing sales plans