Blow Away Your Old Sales Records
by Chris Lytle
Want a new route to the top? Here is a simple exercise you can do to see exactly how objectives and standards work together. Thousands of people have completed this exercise in my seminars and have generated remarkable results.
One participant said, "I now realize I have more control over my sales than I thought I did."
"I'm mad," said another salesperson. "If I had been doing the things I already know I need to do, I would have been making more money all along."
It requires seven minutes of silence on your part, and a little bit of thinking and note taking. These will be the most profitable seven minutes you can spend today, so do it now.
Determine Your Objective
Pick a number that represents a significant increase in your sales. That's your new objective. Then decide on a time frame; you may want to consider an entire quarter or even a full year.
Make a List
Enter these numbers on a worksheet, and then list 20 things you must do to increase your sales by that number in the time frame you've indicated. These will be your new standards. By listing 20 ideas instead of two or three, you are telling your brain to go to work for you and think beyond the obvious and easy answers.
You have your new objective -- the dollar figure -- and a list of 20 ideas to help you achieve that goal. You've just started the process of setting higher standards for yourself.
Set Measurable Goals
You're off to a good start, but chances are your standards aren't quite up to my standards just yet. Let me take a guess at a few of the things you wrote down. A typical list looks like this the first time through:
- Become better organized.
- Do more prospecting.
- Ask for more referrals.
- Write better proposals.
- Ask for more money.
These ideas are noble but hardly measurable. They are frail wishes instead of solid standards. Let's work with the list you created to make sure you have measurable indicators of performance. You must define what "more" means and what "better" looks like.
"Become better organized" is a wish unless you can tell when you become better organized. You need to rewrite it as a quality, quantity, timeliness and/or cost standard. What would "become better organized" look like if you actually got better organized? Here are some possibilities:
- Take 15 minutes to plan and prioritize my to-do list (timeliness standard).
- Keep one project on my desk at a time (quantity standard).
- Schedule a one-hour appointment with myself daily to work on a priority (quality and timeliness).
- Invest $1,500 in a new laptop computer and a sales tracking software program, and have it up and running in 60 days (cost, timeliness and quality standards).
At the end of the day, assess whether you worked to achieve those standards. If you did, you are better organized and you know why. If you only took 10 minutes to plan, there is a gap between the standard and your actual performance.
If your actual performance falls short of the standard, you have a gap. By closing the gap, you will get your performance back to the standard you set for yourself.
To get started, pick the top seven ideas you came up with, and start implementing one new standard per week over the next seven weeks.