Archive for June, 2010

What did you do when you first arrived in the office today?  I imagine if you are like most sales people you walked into the office, sat at your desk and started making calls. The problem with this strategy is that you fall prey to being driven by your day  instead of driving your day. It’s like jumping into a boat with no rudder and hoping your arrive at your destination.

Take a few minutes – 10 minutes is sufficient to plan your day.

  1. Evaluate Scheduled Meetings: Take into consideration activities or meetings already on your calendar. If you haven’t schedule preparation time for these meetings add prep time now. Preparing for a meeting is as important if not more important for the meeting you have schedule.
  2. Block out time for major activities: This might entail meetings, meeting prep, proposal writing, new opportunity development.
  3. Schedule time for future sales. Set a block of time to cultivate new opportunities. This may be in the form of hunting for new opportunities or cultivating opportunities in your pipeline. The key to consistent selling is dedicating time for developing new opportunities. Keeps the sales funnel full and the consistent sales will result.
  4. Schedule time for yourself. I notice that when I don’t step away from the phone I reach a point of ineffeciency. Schedule time to take a walk, hit the gym or dare I say it go to lunch. You’ll be amazed how a little time for yourself will drive you to work instead of being driven by work.
  5. Make a checklist and prioritize. Make a list of activities you need to accomplish for the day. Prioritize them. Work on the high priority items first.  Check of items as completed. Be willing to move items around on your list.  Don’t fall prey to the notion that everything has to be accomplished today.  Yes, it’s OK to have items flow into another day.
  6. Allow time for the unexpected. Don’t over schedule your day.  Leave time for special opportunities, impromptu meeting and even emergencies. Managing a smartly planned day versus an over packed day is much easier.
  7. Be Flexible and Seize a Moment – Allow flexibility in your schedule. Don’t be so rigid that you miss opportunities. I’ve often closed my best sales opportunities when I made time for a meeting now instead of scheduling a meeting in two days.

I will say, while I’m big on planning my day, I emphasize the importance of being flexible. Bruce Lee had a great philosophy about martial arts and life he said,

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.” – Bruce Lee http://www.metacafe.com/watch/23744/bruce_lee_lost_interview/

Your day is like water.  You can let it crash upon, tossing you about by every whim or you can shape it, contain it and even direct its course ultimately driving you to success.

Compensated or Paid?

Posted: June 7, 2010 in Business, Relationships, Sales

I’ve recently had a discussion with my children about how much they should get paid to mow our lawn.  Obviously they were positioning themselves for a raise. Admittedly I don’t pay them as much as I would a lawn mowing company. But they have the opportunity to earn spending cash on a weekly basis.  I also justify the lower pay because I’m teaching them how to work, the importance of home responsibilities, etc. – you know the drill. The other fact working in my favor, I have 6 kids and there is always at least one of them willing to step in and earn some cash.

Since this discussion I’ve pondered the difference between getting paid and compensated. In paying someone for a task, like mowing the lawn, it has a set value to me. Once the task is done it’s complete other than it has to be done again in a week. There is no additional value to me other than having a kept lawn.

Now if I was motivated to not just have a well kept lawn and say win this year’s community award for most beautiful lawn and the accompanying $15,000 I might consider hiring a professional gardener to transform my lawn.   The difference is I’m willing to pay a gardener for the potential his performance will bring to my chances of being compensated. Compensation not only pays you for the real value you bring to a situation but more importantly the value of the opportunity.

How does this relate to you as a sales person? If you’re an average sales person you negotiate your base salary. You cover bases. Compensated sales professionals negotiate their commissions or bonus structure.

How is this different?

In negotiating the base you are hedging your bets against your success? You’re playing it safe. Yes, you may have personal or family justification for a higher base. But if you’re not willing to bet on your own performance why should the company bet on you?

When pursuing a higher compensation you are betting on yourself. You are betting you can hit and even bust the number. You’re betting on the opportunity value you bring to yourself and the company.

Let’s assume you are the owner of a company. If I could bring you an additional $1 million to your bottom line in less than one year how much would that be worth to your company? How much would you be willing to pay for this level of sales jump? What if I could double that number and bring $2 million dollars?  As a business owner does that catch your attention? How much would you be willing to pay for that kind of performance?

To further drive the point why did the United Way compensate Gloria Pace King a base salary of $380,000 plus a bonus in 2008? The reason is not that they need an overpaid CEO managing the business. The United Way needs a CEO who can  manage the business and more importantly drive donations. They need a CEO performer who can raise funds to extend the reach of the United Way. King is compensated so highly because she can drive money.

Remember businesses compensate performers they pay workers.

You may bear the title of sales professional but if you put your sales performance on a business values scale where would you fall?  Worker, performer or rainmaker?

I’d be willing to bet your compensation exactly reflects your position on the performance scale.

What are you going to do to move from paid worker to compensated rainmaker?