Busy being busy?

I remember when I would say to people that things were “so busy”, “hectic” or that I “have soooo much to do”. Often I was too busy to make any real progress and on reflection it is clear to me now that I did little more than keep my head above water.

Working in a sales environment you have to be responsive to your customers requirements and demands. Unless you are there is a good chance they will find someone else more interested in working with them. But this comes at a price, it has the potential to drain your time and your productivity.

It’s not just me though. Recently in a coaching session I was talking with a sales manager about their stated goals and specifically the progress they have made in the preceding period. There was little. Pressure of work and scarcity of time were high on the list of “reasons” for this lack of progress.

This to me raises an interesting point. Why do we do what we do? Surely it is important to us all that we make progress not just tread water. For me personally it is at these moments of progress where I feel the greatest sense of achievement. Our brains’ release chemicals that tell us that we are happy when we achieve goals, this achievement is a core driver in our motivation levels.

Advance or fail!

I wanted to put something out there. ADVANCEMENT is THE most important priority if you want to feel motivated in your role. It is way more fulfilling than hitting outcome measures like many  sales KPI’s. What I mean by advancement will depend on the situation you are in:

  • Account management  is where a customer confirms that you are in a stronger position to work with them. This could be opening up new relationships, committing the time of the company to invest in working with you, committing to invest resources in your relationship development.
  • Opportunities is where the customer is closer to buying something from someone (they are further through their buying process), and buying this from you.
  • Meetings is where you achieve a customer’s commitment to take the actions you wanted from the meeting, they have committed to take the next step in the sales/account management process towards success.
  • Cold call is agreement from a customer to schedule a follow up call or in fact to qualify out this customer.
  • Personal development – where you have learned, applied and understood a new skills or behaviour and focus on sustaining this for the long term.
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Plan to advance today

Sales leaders carry a huge responsibility here, to coach individuals in their team to ensure that advancements are made. Without advancements your team are busy doing “stuff” rather than being productive and progressing toward achieving the goals of the team. Without advancements they will stagnate, get bogged down and drown in a lack of motivation.

Make time in the next week to review your goals for advancing the stuff you work on. What will you do to advance the health of a key account? What is needed to advance closer to that positive buying decision on your opportunities? How will you advance your capabilities?

Good selling!


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