If you are a salesman reading this, are you busy or are you buzzing? Are you busy with sales activities or buzzing with sales accomplishments? Being busy is good, but you are paid for buzzing; activity may keep you going but it’s accomplishment that moves you forward. So, sales activity vs accomplishment. Let’s look at both.
First off. There are three kinds of sales people. Those that watch what is happening; mercifully, they are few (at east they should be in your team). Then, there’s the vast majority who are commendably in the arena but busy sweeping it, cleaning the walls, responding to the cheering crowd, and generally moving hither and thither. They are busy with everything other than facing the raging bull. And then there’s the chosen few. The matadors. The matador is determined to fell the bull and come out bruised physically and his esteem elated; or, emerge physically bruised (body and ego) but determined to fell the bull another day. Either way, he aims for accomplishment, not activity. Where do you lie?
Sales activity vs accomplishment. The difference
Now then. If you are a salesman you will never want for activity. I’ll grant you that. There’s a never-ending list of things to do. Making calls, schedule sales activities, walking, planning, generate leads, source referrals, prepare sales action plans, develop and maintain a customer database, develop and make presentations of company products and services to current and potential clients, monitor and report on sales activities and on and on the laundry list continues. These come by default. I’ll add one more, and I’ll share an anecdote to illustrate it.
Can activity be mistaken for achievement? Yes!
“Why am I getting a 4?” Teresa thundered. “I set up the most our reach tents throughout the year. In fact, I did two a month. No-one else comes anywhere close and they are getting 1’s and 2’s. Why?” Teresa was in my sales team and true, she had been the busiest sales person seeking out strategic spots to pitch our tents and seeing them through. And true, we had gotten hundreds of leads from them.
The problem was, we were the Sales, not Admin, team. We were judged by how may eggs that hatched, not the number we lay on. Unlike her colleagues scoring 1’s and 2’s for meeting and some surpassing targets, she had chosen to lay on the eggs in the mistaken notion that the having been busy with the activities of setting up tent, that accomplishment would be rewarded at the appraisal. Sadly, it’s not attempts at goal that count; it’s scoring. And that comes from being deliberate if it is to be accomplished. There has to be a design to it.
Accomplishment/Achievement is not only scoring i.e., closing. Really?
But accomplishment is Sales need not be that summative, I hear you say. Well, where do you draw the line? Is it best at submitting reports on time? Is it best at submitting accurate reports on time? Or, is it best at submitting, legible, truthful and colourful reports on time? And that’s only on reports. (Which keep in mind most are award-winning works of fiction). Now. Go back to that laundry list of activities and see how many permutations and combinations you can come up with for each activity. And tell me how else you should score sales.
Having said that, I however, agree. Accomplishment need not be that summative. Accomplishment can be fairly awarded, even without closing, for heightened customer engagement. If you spent most of your time intelligently prospecting and making presentation with attempt at closing, then hey, your eggs did not hatch but you just didn’t sit on them either; and if you did you did not generate the requisite warmth to them to. And that’s something we can work on.
Sales activity vs accomplishment
Finally. As the sun goes down and you take stock of your day, how will you have sent it? Will you be tired from being busy with activity? Or will you be elated from buzzing with accomplishments? I want to believe you will have been busy buzzing.
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