The times they are distracting. If it isn't hurricanes, flooding, or snow, it is elections...... and pretty soon it will be holiday planning here in North America. These make for potent, distracting combinations if you are supposed to be making calls and contacts to grow sales for the company you work for. Unlike other jobs, you can't just mentally "check out". Instead you need ideas, tips, strategies and inspiration to keep your focus.
Here are some suggestions from a very distractable former seller and sales leader (me) on how to keep focus.
1. First of all you need a higher purpose and goal - meaning you need to either love what you do or love what the money you are making is doing in getting you toward a particular goal. I once worked for a tyrant sales leader but I made great money and was close to reaching my goal to buy my first home. Nothing anyone could do would deter me from being upbeat and optimistic each day. I made it “real” with a wall mural of the home I wanted. Sure enough, my focus got me to that goal. While everyone else was complaining, I was looking for opportunities, working at lunch, and not hanging with those that saw no future there.
2. Make sure you have processes and methodologies in place for prospecting and selling. Without repeatable steps you will get sidelined with distractions. I didn't become interested in process for the fun of it – it was for a way to keep me moving forward in a repeatable manner. People without ongoing processes get stressed and overwhelmed. They lose things and even sometimes, prospective customers. If your office doesn't have good processes in place, you can still do a lot on your own, including:
- when you prospect. Make 10 calls before you have your coffee. That is always a great way to start
- when you look at email. Wait until you've made those 10 or 20 dials FIRST, then see what is happening online.
3. Work at it. Refine your steps and improve. Plan to make a 1% improvement every day. Become a student of productivity and self management. Your manager cannot make you accomplished – only you can. Stop theorizing or complaining about what isn't working and DO something. Find an answer or work around to get things done and then do it. It is as simple as that.
Do you have a major goal you are working toward?
Is it tangible?
Does it inspire you and motivate you to hurry up and get things done? (if not, try again)
Need a jolt of inspiration? Read about the parents that recycled cans and bottles to put their three kids through college. Now do you have a better idea of a big, gargantuan goal?
Thought leader and productivity expert David Allen talks about how by setting a goal is more about the change in perception the process of setting a goal creates, than in just writing a goal down.
"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." ~ Henry Ford
So what are those obstacles and how can you get them moved over to focus on the job at hand - growing sales? Make your list and keep your focus. Share your thoughts on this - it helps others.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips.