Making plans and sticking to them may not sound sexy. But the consistent results and success you get when you trust your process are sexier than struggling.
Sure, winging it sounds fun, especially for risk-takers. But if you are running a business, is the risk worth it?
Trust Your Process (even when things implode!)
As smooth as things may be going for you initially, one little slip-up or turn of events could make you and your team scramble.
But when you have a repeatable, documented sales process that you and your team have faith in, those hiccups aren’t nearly as catastrophic.
If a deal falls out of your pipeline, you know you have more.
You can go to networking events without feeling the need to pitch to every person you meet. Your process will let you wait for connections that make sense.
When your client says they need or want something you can’t deliver, you can fearlessly give them a recommendation for somebody else.
Finally, you don’t have to hustle and work 80 hours a week just to hit quota or get your business where you want it to be.
That might sound like a pipedream, but it’s not. All you need is a process. Then, trust in the process.
Many struggling salespeople don’t have a plan for their days and weeks. We probably all started like that, but some of us never learn a better way.
They react to everything that comes their way, and when they hit their goals, it is usually from luck more than anything else.
Those salespeople often feel like they have to be “on” all the time. They don’t disconnect during the weekends or go on long-planned vacations.
They are always working.
Entrepreneurs have it even harder because they have to be salespeople and business owners. (Yes, entrepreneurs have to sell until they hire somebody else to do it. And that’s okay. Selling is noble!)
They are busy selling, serving clients, marketing, and handling the day-to-day tasks of running a business. And while they’re doing all that, hopefully, they are also building systems and processes.
Best Laid Plans…
Humans are not great planners by default. It is an acquired skill.
Even when they try, those plans are often poorly applied or forgotten when things inevitably go askew.
Your biggest client calls you with an emergency when you are about to start cold calling. The internet goes down during a critical Zoom call.
A pandemic hits, and you have to change your entire business structure. (Okay, that one threw all of us!)
These things happen.
Sometimes, even with our best intentions, we invite opportunities that take us off course.
If you decide to check LinkedIn just before you start cold calling, you’re opening the possibility of getting distracted and not hitting your KPI for the day. (If you’ve never heard of time blocking, I urge you to try it. That one technique has completely changed the way I work!)
These seemingly little things can completely throw our day off course. If you don’t stick to the plan and trust your process, it’s too easy to let them happen.
Managing your time is one of the things that you will consistently hear top salespeople and entrepreneurs talk about. They have their day, week, and month planned around things they have complete control over, and they build time into their plans for when things don’t go right.
Creating a Process You Can Trust
Every salesperson we’ve helped has said that a trusted and well-followed plan reduced pressure from their sales conversations. It has allowed them to stop taking on bad clients or worrying about not getting good ones.
Lessening that pressure has helped them sleep better at night and enjoy their time away from work.
Good sales teams have processes built around two things:
- the necessary tasks needed to accomplish goals
- and the abilities of each individual on their team.
You must set and track KPIs to know if you’re on the right path. If not, you’ll have a clear view of where to adjust.
If you’ve never created repeatable KPIs before, start setting a SMART goal. Then, work backward.
How much do you plan to make in a year? What do you need to make in a month to hit that goal? Then keep working backward. You’ll reach a point where you know that, for example, sending 15 proposals per day will lead to your team hitting your revenue goal for the year.
Set KPIs for each stage until you have a clear path from doing small daily tasks to crossing the goal line.
But you should set those KPIs individually. Every person has unique strengths and weaknesses. One salesperson may be able to make twenty-five cold calls a day easily. But that might not be reasonable for their peers.
One of the biggest mistakes a sales team can make is creating the same plan for everyone. It just doesn’t work. They end up constantly churning through salespeople.
Executing the Plan
Once you have a well-documented process, it’s time to execute!
There are three essential things you have to keep in mind once you start putting your plan into action.
First, you need patience.
It happens time and time again. A team has a great plan, but they don’t give it time to work. So they get frustrated and give up.
But success doesn’t happen overnight, and we all know that. Right?
So you have to trust your process and give it time.
Second, you have to track everything.
You won’t know if you need to adjust the process without tracking your tasks and progress.
Your plans shouldn’t be set in stone, especially if they’re not helping you accomplish your goals. So keep an eye on everything, and adjust as needed.
Third, don’t get bored!
It will get to the point where the days and weeks run themselves. Although this is a sign that your plan is a success, it can lead to a bit of monotony in your day-to-day.
This boredom happens to many people. If it does, that’s when you have to double down and remember why you’re doing it.
When people stop being successful, it isn’t because the plan stopped working. It’s usually because they changed it for no reason or stopped utilizing it altogether.
Avoid that slippery slope, and trust your process until it’s truly time to scale or adjust.
Trust Your Process in Sales and Life
Planning and building processes help us significantly more than just selling or business.
If you want to lose weight, you need a process.
If you want to save up for a big trip, you need a plan.
A process helps you stay accountable to yourself and those who depend on you. And even though it doesn’t sound like it, your process actually enables you to be more flexible.
When something isn’t working, you’ll know what needs to change. But if you’re meandering through life, you probably have no idea how to fix it.
Starting anything is challenging. Creating a process for selling, building a business, or even just getting through your day may not sound fun.
But once you try it, you’ll see how much easier things get. And when you trust your process, you have something solid to fall back on if things go a little off track.
Top Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash