Farquharson on Business Development: A Chicken, a Pig and Success
As the business fable goes, in a breakfast of ham and eggs, the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.
Ask an older couple, such as my parents, the secret to a successful marriage and you are sure to hear the word, “Committed,” as in, “We committed to each other and that’s what we return to when the relationship is strained.” Their life together was built on the foundation of rock. That rock has been in place for 68 years last month.
In 1519 AD, Commander Hernan Cortes ordered his ships to be burned during the Spanish invasion of Mexico. Ditto for the Bounty mutineers. Now that’s a commitment! It sends a great message to the troops: succeed or die trying.
Are you goal-oriented? Whether it’s sales growth or weight loss, we all set out with an end in mind. Think back six months to those New Year’s resolutions that you made. If you can even recall them, how’s the progress going towards their achievement? I thought so.
Let’s say you decided you would grow your sales by $100,000 in the first six months of 2015. If you were committed to this goal, really committed, you would have found a way to make it happen and no obstacle would have been too difficult. You would’ve sold like someone had a gun to your head.
If you had set your sights on increasing sales by $100,000 in the six months of 2015 and “Really hope I can pull it off,” it doesn’t take a highly paid Printing Impressions columnist to tell you that the likelihood of success is low. You would’ve sold like someone had a blueberry muffin to your head.
Goals are reached not because we want it so badly, but rather because not reaching those goals would cause tremendous pain. Weight loss, for example, occurs more often when it is accompanied by a doctor’s comment, such as “You have dangerously high cholesterol levels. If you don’t lose 25 pounds in the next six months, you are at risk of a heart attack or a stroke.” Had that doctor said, “Gosh, you would feel a lot better if you were 25 pounds thinner,” there is certainly an upside to the goal of weight loss, but probably not enough of a downside of reducing the burden your body is putting on the bathroom scale.
So, how do we turn our sales goals into a rock-solid commitment? Make it hurt if you don’t make them. One way is to make your goals public. Set them, speak them, announce them and then set out to achieve them. Ask people to check in with you regularly. Imagine the embarrassment and humiliation of failing to hit the $100,000/six months goal and you will have all the motivation necessary to get there. For example…
A couple of years ago I was sitting around the fire pit one night with my youngest daughter, Madeline, and she had asked me what I was going to do with my life once she had graduated high school and left for college in Shanghai later that summer. I made two flippant comments: “First, I’m going to ride my motorcycle from Boston to San Francisco. Then, I will come back home, pack up and moved to Tuscany.” Clearly, the s’mores were doing the talking that night. But, as I learned, you don’t throw out idle comments like that to Madeline Priscilla Farquharson.
At the time, that comment was just a comment, not a commitment. I was involved with a thought, not committed to it. Madi, however, saw it differently. She immediately grabbed her laptop and started looking into what life would be like in Tuscany.
In the next few weeks, I repeated the conversation to a number of friends and family members, each time repeating the, “Maybe I’ll ride cross-country” line (I took Tuscany off the table when I found out they had no major league baseball franchise there). The more I said it, the more real it became and soon I found myself thinking about it constantly and wondering what it would be like. In my head, however, it was still a dream. What happened next was unexpected: Friends and family started asking me, “How are the plans coming for your trip to California?”
That dream became more and more of a reality as I thought about it, talked about it, planned for it, and got myself to a position where I couldn’t not go. There was too much pain involved with the thought of explaining to people that I decided not to go. Again, the motivation that drove me to throw a leg over my Victory Vision and set out on Aug. 3, 2013, didn’t come from the burning desire I had to find out what a 5,600 mile wedgie felt like.
It came because I have a big mouth and I told a lot of people about this “goal.” Six weeks later, I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, dodged the San Francisco crazies (the only real danger I encountered the entire time!), and arrived at Murphy Printing where the bike would sit under the care of Larry Murphy for 48 hours until being shipped back home.
I read once that when you create goals you shouldn’t share them with anyone because others will automatically shoot holes in them and cause you to doubt yourself. I disagree. Create a goal and tell no one and you are setting yourself up for failure. Create a goal and tell everyone and you have built the framework for success.
The sales rep who kind of wants to, I don’t know, like, grow his or her business this year is the chicken donating a couple of eggs to the frying pan. There will be a lot of clucking (i.e. making excuses) around the henhouse, to be sure.
The rep who writes a number on a flag, ties it to a stick, runs up a hill, and jams it into the ground while shouting at the top of his or her lungs exhibits the kind of goal-setting action that provides the fuel necessary to reach them.
Pig up and commit! PI
About the Author
Bill Farquharson is vice president at Epicomm and a featured presenter on PI Xchange. His Sales Resources page contains archived tips and Short Attention Span Webinars and is found at sales.epicomm.org. Farquharson can be reached at (781) 934-7036 or email firstname.lastname@example.org