I am not super fit, but I try and keep the weight off by running on the treadmill every day. Repetitive, boring, but necessary, I am not actually running anywhere, I don’t even have a destination in mind, just one thought; keep on going, keep on going. It occurred to me that this has been reflective of my professional behaviours in the past: GOT TO GET A SALE!! Combined with exhaustion, slight nausea and often forgetting to breathe.
So what do we do? We analyse. Analyse the ratios, the averages, the increase, the uplift, the percentage etc. etc. I completely acknowledge that this is a necessary and potentially useful exercise, an obvious basic fundamental principle of business, to take the time out to analyse, recognise opportunities and threats and plan in the necessary action. After doing such exercises on numerous occasions, with varying results, I have changed the way in which I work as an outcome, however fundamentally the answer is the same. Sell more. The answer is always to sell more, which leads me to question does this numbers game need more time spent on analysing the numbers or more time spent on recognising and improving the human behaviours which enable us to sell more? If sales person A has closed 1:10 deals and sales person B has closed 1:15 with an average dial rate of 102.5 vs 83, what does this tell us? Yes it does indicate performance, but every human interaction is susceptible to too many variables to draw any real conclusions.
I have decided to invest my time in relationships, not numbers. I do not hard sell because this will never be conducive of a successful long term relationship. I present my vision and invite others to join me on the road to achieving it. Obviously this is going to cost them, but it is much easier to hand over 10k to someone you might share a beer with rather than someone you would rather choke on it. Simple human nature; relate to each other, empathise with each other, reassures us that we are part of the ‘pack’, part of the same ‘team’, striving for survival…..Ok striving for a sale, but you get my point. You do not need to produce spreadsheets to tell you this, you need to be present in the moment during every human interaction you have. Be on linked-in, on twitter, not as a product but as a person. When you are on a call, know who you are talking to, do the research, the background work, speak to them as an individual, because that’s what you are. And guess what? You need to go out and meet actual people sometimes too. KPI’s are an essential tool in identifying opportunities to grow, but do not be swamped by data. Selling and buying are interactions riddled with emotional variances, which require intellect and skill to successfully manoeuvre, do not underestimate the power of your own influence versus that of mathematical probabilities.
So if like me sometimes you are struggling on the treadmill, don’t just focus on the digital time display, the speed or even your heart rate, just get off. Get off the treadmill and go for a run outside. Pick a destination, visualise it, map your route and do it. I am not guaranteeing that you won’t get out of breath, but there is a good chance that you will get there and you might even meet some people along the way.