Is what you are doing REALLY productive?

Have you ever had someone on your team who is in your opinion extremely talented, but just does not seem to close as much business as someone who would appear to be significantly less talented? So have I, and I think what it boils down to is many extremely talented sales people do not close nearly as much business as they could because they stay busy, but they are not focusing on the correct things. It is not just the volume of activity that is important, it is the quality!

A few days ago, I wrote an article called Start With The End In Mind. In this article I explained how to use conversion data to plan your next week, month, or quarter. It’s a great tool, but if you remember I left out the part about dials to contact as a method to predict in this model.

The reason for that is because so many sales managers will tell their team “all you need is 100 dials a day and you will be successful!”  Frankly, I just don’t think it’s true! I have seen talented sales people making 30 good calls in a day run circles around “hard workers” who diligently get in their 100 (and sometimes more) dials. Does this mean less is more? No, or at least, not exactly.

What it means is it’s not the quantity of what you do; it is the quality that will influence your success. I Googled like crazy trying to find someone else willing to put this into print specific to sales and it seems I am the only person saying this, but that does not make it untrue. I think most consultants are just afraid to tell a company I think your people spend too much time looking busy making less than productive dials when they could be doing things that are actually lead to closing deals.

To emphasize this point I will share with you one of my own personal experiences and then I will leave you with something to think about. When I was a young new sales person I had a great start and everyone was sure I would be their next superstar after a few months. After about 6 months I was proving them right when I set a new record closing 12, 15, and 18 deals consecutively when most people in the company struggled to get 10. rolling into the 4th month my director came to me to share my conversion data and explained to me how I had done so well on somewhere between 30 – 40 dial per day, and that if I had done 100 per day like he had been telling me to I would have closed another 45 deals!

The dollar signs flashed before my eyes, and of course I diligently made my 100+ dials every day, but guess what… My production actually fell to only 8 deals the next month 100% MORE input got me 50% LESS output!

What was the problem? The real problem was my manager’s manager got in the way of my productivity. You see, I, like most great sales people was a bit lazy. I wasn’t achieving higher than average numbers because I worked harder than everyone else. I had learned to become extremely efficient. I was booking more appointments with 30 to 40 calls than the 100+ club because I was not focused on making dials. I was focused on making contact and having some quality conversations. When that focus shifted so did my productivity. Needless to say, I went back to my old program the next month and was in great shape again.

So what would the better advice have been? When I see someone like this, I sit down with them share their conversion data, and plan the next quarter, but I only talk about things that matter. For a sales process that begins on the phone that is getting a live voice or a “contact”. Without contacts you can make all the dials you want and you will be right where you are now.

Takeaways: Are you focused on the important things right now or are you keeping busy? What are the most important things you need to focus on to drive sales? Start measuring these things and setting goals based on that data and you will see your numbers climb.

Sales managers, are you overly focused on activity? Think about how you can help to re-focus your team on the most important things and set up goals and contests to reinforce those things.

Later this week I will talk about how I set up contests that drive production and not activity.

5 thoughts on “Is what you are doing REALLY productive?”

  1. Well Brad, it sounds like you have some problems with some of your sales people. Here is what I suggest:

    Take a piece of paper and number from the top to bottom 10-1, then along the bottom, number from 1-10. Draw a line down the middle in both directions making a quadrant. You will see the numbers starting from one in both directions. Name verticle line aptitude and the horizontal attitude.

    This is the important part:

    You will mark the quadrants in this way:
    the bottom left will be marked FIRE
    the bottom right will be marked Train
    the top left will be marked motivate
    the top right will be marked promote

    Now the fun starts.

    Take the person you are concerned about and rate them from 1-10 in both attitude and aptitude. You will put a dot on your grid where the numbers intersect.

    Now you will know exactly how to proceed with this individual to help them make the most of their career.

  2. i agree that if we let money be our sole motive (although it usually is) in what we do, we tend to be less successful than if we focused on what customers want or what is most important to succeed in the business.

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