There are several very common temptations that routinely present themselves to the field salesperson. One is to become too reactive. When you succumb to this temptation, you eventually default to a mindset that sees your job as essentially being your customer’s gofer. You determine where to go and what to do on the basis of who wants something from you at the moment. Thus, where you go on Monday depends on who called on Friday.
Another temptation is to be lulled by the repetitive nature of the business-to-business selling situation into a mindless routine. When you succumb to this temptation, you quit thinking about the most effective actions, and give in to the lure of the routine. It’s on Tuesday, and you are at account ABC. Why are you here? Because it’s 10 AM on Tuesday. That’s what you do. It’s been years, if ever, that you thought about why you are here. You just are.
Both of these create salespeople of marginal performance, because they rob the salesperson of one of his most powerful assets: The ability to invest his/her selling time where it will produce the greatest return on time invested.
There is, however, a discipline that serves as a counter-weight to these temptations. The best salespeople routinely and with discipline and method, create a monthly plan for the investment of their time.
The monthly plan is an essential discipline that holds the two temptations discussed above at bay, and, at the same time, produces decisions that lead to the most effective actions.
It is a best practice of the best, and one of the Five Key Disciplines that we teach participants in our Kahle Way® Selling System.
A monthly plan is just that – a plan that you create for the investment of your selling time over the next 30 days. You do one every month, at the beginning of the month.
Normally, it will take you 30 to 90 minutes. In it, you complete a two-page form that asks you to identify the most effective actions you can take during the coming month, by category. For example, the monthly plan lists each of your target accounts, and asks for a one-line description of what progress you want to make this month in each of those accounts.
If your company expects higher performance on key product lines, then planning for this month’s efforts in regard to those is another category.
If you have some expectations for acquiring new customers, those efforts are described and to which you are committed.
You identify those opportunities that are closest to the money, and describe what progress you are going to make to bring them to closure.
You identify and commit to your efforts to improve yourself this month.
All of these are areas on which you focus, make decisions about, and then commit in writing to specific actions.
The result? A plan for the most effective use of your sales time next month.
It is a regular discipline of the best. To learn more, consider The Kahle Way® Distributor Selling System, or The Kahle Way® Business-to-Business Selling System.