I learned the important lesson that being busy doesn’t necessarily means being productive while serving in the military. In the unit I served in, it was frowned upon if a person went home before 18:00 – the pressure was constant and staying late was the norm. However, sometimes there wasn’t any work to be done, so people pretended to type or move a stack of paper from one side of the table to the other, if only to appear busy. Pretense ruled instead of production, which didn’t appear to be the main objective anymore.
When I reached the civilian life – things didn’t seem to be that much different. Busy = Productive, no matter if any production was actually taking place – if it looks like you’re doing something then you must be doing “something”. That’s because somewhere along the way, even in the business world, we sometimes do not pay attention to the bottom line but only to the path that leads us there. If a sales person is always busy, it means that their production is at maximum level, right? Wrong.
Luckily, this issue can be resolved easily by following a couple of steps that put the emphasis back on being effective.
First, formulate a sales process and follow through with it. There are many types of processes and they vary depending on the company’s nature and work culture. A well-defined process, combined with constant guidance, helps companies to achieve constant target results. Also, an organized process will contribute in forming a measurable performance baseline, which in turn, will help the company’s sales evaluation process.
Second, use objective criteria to set sales goals. This will help eliminate uncertainty and confusion. Given subjective sales criteria are, well, subjective – only true in the eye of the one that conjured them and don’t necessarily mean anything. Acting upon highly objective measures to rank sales goals is essential to improving sales behavior and driving consistent, long-term performance.
And last, know your client’s purchase process. If you know what drives them to buy, you’ll know how to sell it. It’s that simple, though in reality, it may tough to unfold the process and may require a prolonged delicate relationship between the sales person and the client.