Success doesn’t happen by accident, at least in the long term. We can all point to periods in our life where everything just clicks. For the highest and most consistent performers, nothing is left to chance. That requires planning. Mental, physical and emotional preparedness can lead to excellent results. The following steps are in not in a firm order.

1. Get It Scheduled — The first part of the first step is reviewing any unfinished business. For example: You dealt with a customer that wanted to look at something you needed to order in. Items were ordered and an appointment was scheduled. Today, you need to confirm the shipment and the appointment. I’m a big believer in “things to do” lists. Creating that list is the second part of this step. I like to lead off with small tasks that can be finished quickly like returning a call, or preparing an item for presentation. The idea is to start getting things checked off to create momentum. Distractions from the most fundamental purpose of your position, (sales), are killers. Devoting partial attention is the same as paying no attention. It can knock you off your game. Organization is absolutely essential. This task should be accomplished before you are open for business. With that said, even if time constraints make it difficult, don’t ever let anything take your focus off a live customer, whether in your store or on the phone.

2. Positive Energy — The second step is getting yourself positively energized. Your state of mind will dictate what happens for the rest of the day. We broadcast how we feel to everyone we come in contact with. When we’re “up”, we influence others to feel up. Unfortunately the contrary is true as well. Today is a new day and all things are possible. How do you get positively energized? It starts with you! When you are positive and upbeat with your co-workers, they’ll be with you. See the best in others and inspire them with your words and actions. You are like a tuning fork. The vibration you emit is what you attract. Whatever issues are bothering you, get rid of them any way you can. Avoid co-workers that are negative. Fix what can be fixed and accept the things you can’t change.

3. Set Goals — The third step is having a goal that is commensurate with the goals of management. You always want to make sure that everybody is on the same page. All of us are members of a team with different responsibilities. We’re all working toward the same end. Don’t be afraid to use what is available to you to achieve your personal goals and the company’s goals as well. By that I mean: utilize the support staff and tools that your company provides you with to promote everyone’s common interest. Your goals should be attainable with effort, and set by you. Impossible goals are frustrating and are quickly abandoned. Easy goals don’t challenge us to grow. Goals should be designed to stretch us in a variety of ways both in quality and quantity. Goals that only drive us to work harder, fall short when they don’t inspire us to work smarter. Take for example a basic metric of making more contacts with potential customers in order to grow your business. If all other metrics stay the same, you should see a proportionate gain in business. However, things may be different if you were to incorporate an improvement in the quality of the contact. It could be something as easy as making sure that you are physically putting an item of your product in every contact’s hand. You will see a better rate of growth with a better method. Therefore, you should have multiple goals and goals within goals. For example: your annual goals should be broken down by months, weeks, days. Sometimes it‘s even advantageous to break them down by the hour. There’s an old adage: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Choose your goals wisely, one bite at a time, and you will benefit in multiple ways.

4. Focus — The fourth step is getting focused. I differentiate focus from organization. Constructing a plan is different than mentally preparing for it. Focus requires belief in yourself and holding yourself personally responsible for whatever happens today. There are no excuses. Focus can be best understood as knowing what needs to be done and the realization that it’s well within your means to make it happen. Focus can help you eliminate things that distract you from your primary mission. It helps with putting things into perspective. For example: you are in the middle of a troubling task that requires your full attention. Suddenly, a potential customer walks in the door. Do you stop what you’re doing to take care of a customer, or do you continue with the task? The best answer is that you never make a potential customer feel like they are less important than anything else. If you can do that without stopping what you’re doing, then great. If you can’t, stop and greet your customer. We have all had the experience of walking into a store and having to wait for a store employee to free themselves up from some “busy” work. Of course, this is before they can be bothered to help you. Personally I do not buy from that store, nor do I ever go back. Recently, in a conversation with one of my customers, she informed me about a similar situation she had many years ago. She was treated poorly in a well- known local store that is noted for its great customer service. She still held a grudge and has not been in the store since. Even though she knows her experience was the exception to the rule, she still refuses to shop there. When you’re in sales, customers are your lifeline, and as such, deserving of your full attention.

5. Execution — The fifth step is a commitment to executing the plan. Around here, we call it “million dollar execution.” The best laid plans mean nothing without an “all in” execution. That means making sure every moment counts. No wasted time, no wasted effort. If it requires thinking outside the box with a more creative approach, then so be it. Growth comes from expanding our comfort zone, not hiding in it. Nothing is more satisfying than trying out something new and experiencing the benefits. Your comfort zone has just been expanded like inflating a toy balloon. To get the most out of million dollar execution, it needs to be repeated it over and over again. I used the word “commitment” because it implies more than just sticking your toe in the water. It means not bailing out when things get difficult. It means choosing to work through any obstacles and not making excuses. This concept is what separates the successful from the most successful. Some of the world’s greatest inventors died penniless because, while brilliant, they lacked the ability to bring their inventions to market. In our business, success is measured in sales.

Having a plan and then executing that plan will lead to more sales.

Even professional golfers hit bucket after bucket of practice balls before they get out on the course… even for a practice round! Success comes from commitment, planning, and repetition. The prerequisites for this to work is your attitude and beliefs. Everything is in your hands. With proper effort, you will determine your success.

In summary, get necessary things scheduled, get pumped up, know what needs to be done, remove the obstacles and make it happen! Don’t make excuses. SSA

bob_demariaAbout the Author:
Bob DeMaria has 45 years of experience in sales, sales management and marketing as an inside and outside sales representative, sales manager for 4 different companies and owner of several businesses. He can be reached at 800-874-8768, ext. 110 or by email at [email protected]