How many shooting stars have you seen fire across the night sky in your lifetime?
I can honestly say that, until my mid-twenties, I can’t recollect seeing a single one.
It was around then that myself and the good lady who would become my wife went camping in Cornwall and, on the walk back from a remote country pub just before midnight and with no city lights to ruin the view, I looked up and saw three in quick succession.
And I remember being struck by how amazing, beautiful and other-worldly they were – and then going on about them all night.
I didn’t realise until recently that what I’d witnessed that night wasn’t a one-off – lucky to be there – fluke.
It’s a meteor shower called The Perseids – and they light up the skies across the northern hemisphere every year at pretty much the same time. In fact, if you want to see a few, we’re right in the middle of them now.
Each summer, my family and I spend our evenings (in the house on the hill in France where I come to write) gazing up at the night sky, watching the annual display and over the years we’ve seen hundreds of them.
You can catch them yourself where you are, they’re going to be most visible and peak on the night of 12th August (where you’ll see around 80 per hour) – but you can also see them throughout the week before and the week after if you have a clear night.
And if you’re watching at the right time, you’ll have a chance to witness something called an Earth Grazer which shoots across the horizon in a variety of stunning colours.
So, shooting stars don’t need to be a lucky coincidence, you just have to know when and where to look for them – and when you have that information you can see more shooting stars than most people will probably see in a lifetime.
Same thing applies with the results of a sales team – and the success rate of its manager.
Many salespeople and their managers turn up to work each day without realising they’re focusing 80% of their effort in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s why we begin our Sales Management, Prospecting and Sales Training Workshops by focusing everyone on what it is they’re trying to achieve.
And it’s probably the single most important exercise a sales manager can undertake.
If you manage a team, take a look at the short list below and have a think about whether your focused outcome for each one is pinpoint (sniper) accurate, a little too broad to be exact or barely visible to the human eye.
- This Year’s Targets
- Long Term Targets
- The Process for Achievement
- Internal & External Perceptions
- Sales Team Membership
This Year’s Targets
The company expects you and your team to hit a particular number – and that number is the sole purpose of your job.
If it could be achieved without the requirement of someone to manage the variables – there wouldn’t be a sales management position.
The target needs to be broken down between the sales team and then broken again into regular monitorable intervals – usually monthly.
Long Term Targets
If you drew a picture of your vision for what “perfect” looked like with regards to your business, your brand and your career in 5 year’s time – what would that look like?
Put a pin in the map from that vision and work backwards to make sure it becomes a reality.
The Process for Achievement
OK, so you’ve got your targets and vision all sorted out – how are you going to achieve them?
There will be a number of available solutions – but which one enables you to get there with the least amount of effort as quickly as possible – while making sure you don’t deviate away from your moral compass?
Internal & External Perceptions
What does everyone within your business think about you and your team?
How do your competition, prospects and existing customers view you and your team?
Do you care?
Actually, the bigger question to ask yourself is;
What benefits are to be had from caring?
Sales Team Membership
With regards to the list so far; Targets, Vision, Process and Perception – what kind of people would help you to achieve those for you?
Who do you want to be associated with? Who deserves a place in the private members club know as your sales team?
What values do you want them to arrive with? What kind of work ethic?
What matters most to you with regards the people who represent you and your business – and who do you want to spend all that time with?
How do you want to be remembered?
What kind of boss do you want to be?
How will industry journalists write about you when you retire?
What state do you want to leave your industry in and what do you want to pass on to the generation who will eventually need to fill your shoes.
You may not want to answer any of those question – and you may be happy just to see where it all takes you – and it’s true, all those things have been achieved positively by people who didn’t put a single plan together.
But take it from me, you could also stand on this hill in France every night for eleven months and – if you’re lucky – you might see one or two shooting stars flashing through the sky.
Alternatively, you could simply choose to look up for one particular week of the year and you’ll be guaranteed to see hundreds.
Because here’s the thing;
When you have a plan designed to achieve the results you’re looking for, mixed with the ability to point yourself in the right direction for the appropriate amount of time – the difference in numbers can be astounding.
Interested in finding out more?
(click on preferred city for full details)
Our Sales Management Open Workshops show you how to piece together the four main elements of successfully managing a team – Focus; Accountability; Motivation; Education – and show you how to get the best out of everyone involved.
At the end of this workshop delegates will be able to:
- Work out how to focus on the real tasks that need to be achieved – and find a way to ensure every member of their team is doing that too.
- Create a culture where every member of the team understands that they are accountable and responsible for their own success – and recognise exactly what that makes them accountable for.
- Genuinely motivate people to over deliver -and even more importantly – learn how to make sure you don’t demotivate them.
- Coach the entire team to greater things – learn how to give them a net of their own rather than continuously feeding them individual fish.
- Feel competent and confident enough to conduct staff discipline in a professional (and legal) manner.
(click on preferred city name for full details)