In the last few blog posts, I have effectively challenged you to face your fears, learn and try new things, and overcome the barriers that keep you from reaching new hights in sales, or in whatever pursuits are important to you.
I write about these things for the same reason I wrote about the importance of the sales process in my book, Mastering Your Sales Process (now available for the Kindle, by the way).
I write what I know. I write from my own experience. I use this blog to share what I have learned from my journey, so that maybe some piece of my experience might also help someone else make some progress on their journey.
Make no mistake about one thing though: Writing about them and doing them are two different things. Now I am not one who pretends to know the path without walking the path, but be sure about this: Walking the path is more difficult and tiring than not.
I meet a lot of people who have lots and lots of well articulated reasons why trying to succeed more is not worth doing. As posted in an earlier blog, these people use their gift of the ability to think to come up with reasons for not trying. While I don’t condone this – at all – I do understand. Trying can be hard. Failing in the pursuit of success can be frustrating. Success can be elusive.
We are human. We get tired. Sometimes we need to coast.
It is OK.
There is no rule that says we are only successful if we push with 110% effort, 110% of the time. Our lives need balance, and that includes balance between the times to push and the times to rest. This is not failure. This is analogous to Abraham Lincoln’s “sharpen your saw” metaphor (also used by Steven Covey in his mega-bestseller “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.)
The short version of the “sharpen your saw” story goes like this. Two lumberjacks challenge each other to a tree cutting contest. The rules are simple – whoever can cut down more trees with a saw over the course of an 8-hour day wins.
The first runs into the woods and begins sawing furiously from the first minute of the first hour all of the way through to the last minute of the last. At the end of the day, he barely has the strength to carry his saw.
The other cuts trees for 50 minutes out of each hour, then spends the last 10 minute of each hour sharpening his saw.
The story ends in various specific ways, but the general theme is the same. The one who took the time to make sure that his tool was operating most effectively beat the one who simply threw raw effort and a dull instrument at the problem.
In my own life, I have taken this concept to new levels by further blurring the distinction between what is work and what is not (a common issue for the self-employed). In my case, I think it is actually a positive thing. More and more of my work these days is bigger in scope and less transactional than in years past. A single deal might be worth as much or more to me now as a few months worth of full-time transactional selling was just a few short years ago.
In this environment, sometimes the best thing for me to do following a meeting or after getting an e-mail or a phone call that requires some reflection is to get onto my bike and ride, or take a nap, or go have lunch with a friend and talk about anything other than work.
When I return to the work problem, I am fresh, and the solution often comes easily. I told this story to a colleague the other day, and he told me about a work session he recently participated in, in which a log-jammed discussion went until about 8:00 pm at which time he decided to call it quits and go home to sleep. The next morning, he came back to work with a clear solution to the problem. His colleagues had stayed until midnight hammering on the problem, and came back to work the next morning with nothing but red eyes to show for their efforts.
There is an expression that no-one has a brilliant idea while staring at their computer screen. Think about your own life, and you can probably relate to that.
This post is not a call for laziness, or an admonition of hard work. We all know that this is required for success – in some way or another, you need to show up and get your work done. However, this showing up does not need to be manic or obsessive. When it is, it is usually counter productive.
Temet Nosce – know thyself. Find your balance – and in the infamous words of the old Army commercial – “Be all you can be”. The emphasis on “all” is mine.
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!