It has happened and so we have to accept it. Now we must turn our focus to moving forward in our businesses and our sales. As discussed in my last blog post, there are elements that we can control, some things we can only influence and others that we just have to accept. Right now we need to put all our energy into those things that we can control – so what are those things?
1. Focus on the inputs and the outputs will take care of themselves
All too often we are so focused on the end result, or the win, that we forget to think about all the activity that goes into it – the inputs. The same applies in sport – if you are focusing on hitting the golf ball really far you end up swinging too hard and totally missing the ball, well I do anyway. We cannot directly control whether we win the work or not, but we can control what we do leading to the win. A pipeline takes a while to build so if you are only focusing on the wins then you are not preparing for the future and ensuring a steady flow of business.
“If you focus on the results you will never change, if you focus on the change you will get results” Jack Dixon
2. Engage in intelligent activity
It is better to have a year doing all the right activity without a single win than having a year where you fluke one or two wins from a random or unexpected occurrence. If you are out there building your network, especially at the moment when there is so much uncertainty, then you are setting yourself up for future success. We must not only focus on getting the win at a time when budgets are going to be tightening, now is the time to get out there and meet people! Start building relationships now when other people are retreating into a quiet corner. Be the one that stands out.
3. Pick up the phone
How are you going to do this? Easy, pick up the phone. Why are we all so scared of picking up the phone and making a call? People get far fewer calls these days, and far too many emails. Next time, instead of sending that email, pick up the phone instead. You will amaze yourself at the power of a phone conversation and how much more effective it can be compared to email. Take two minutes to plan carefully what you are going to say beforehand and do not sell on the phone. Instead make the objective of the call to set up a coffee with a prospect or old contact.
4. Go out for lunch
You don’t literally have to take the person out to lunch; all I mean is get out there and meet people. People like buying from people, so focus on building a relationship and earning the trust of the other person before you begin to sell. The easiest way to build trust is by listening. The best piece of advice I ever received was “don’t try to be interesting, instead focus on being truly interested.”
So, get yourself out there and build relationships. At a time when others are too focused on thinking what to do, you can be the one doing it.
If you would like any advice or support on any of these points don’t hesitate to get in touch – I would be more than happy to help.