Getting There vs. Being There
I’ve been coaching a young sales rep for roughly 6 months now. We started with the basics as he made some initial phone calls to dead accounts, just to get him some practice and experience. Next, we added some accountability in order to demonstrate its impact. A couple months into that stage and two things happened:
#1: Business picked up, and subsequently …
#2: His new business selling activity plummeted.
Okay. We fixed that and he got back into the habit of pursuing new accounts. Unfortunately, another sales rep left the company and all that business went to my young Padawan.
Because, once again, his new business activity plummeted.
This is, as I pointed out to his manager, extremely common. For a number of reasons, salespeople cease the actions it took them to become successful once business improves. The motivation and drive required to be hungry for new business disappears and success kills growth.
I was once asked by the late Joe Davis (Consolidated Graphics), “What percentage of my salespeople have stopped growing?” My answer infuriated him to the point where he immediately walked away from me: “50%.” I stand by that number even today. Joe saw me the next day and we talked about what to do with that 50% who are in cruise control – it wasn’t pretty.
Fear is a great motivator. Desire is a great motivator. Buying your first house is a great motivator. The cost of college for your kids is a great motivator. Short of those things being in place serving as the reason for new business activities taking place, we all need something to force us to spend part of our selling day pursuing new accounts.
What’s your “something”?
One option is materialism. For example, I would love an Indian motorcycle to replace my Victory. It would take about $25,000 to make that dream come true. A motivational tactic might be to print out a picture and put it near my desk where I can look at it and know that it will take more Sales Vault customers for me to sit on that sweet ride.
Another option is accountability. This is not exactly motivation, but it will certainly get you making the calls. Set some sales activity goals and then agree to report in to someone on a regular basis.
A final option — and one that I do not recommend having tried it myself — is to buy something you don’t need in order to reintroduce fear as a motivator. Come to think of it, that Indian would look really good in my garage…
If you are among the 50% who are in growth mode, congratulations. Just know that once you reach the top of the mountain you will become part of the other 50% and being there is a lot less fun than getting there.
Bill Farquharson is a respected industry expert and highly sought after speaker known for his energetic and entertaining presentations. Bill engages his audiences with wit and wisdom earned as a 40-year print sales veteran while teaching new ideas for solving classic sales challenges. Email him at email@example.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault, are available at salesvault.pro.