Get Out Of Your Own Way

This is one of those top­ics that requires some self aware­ness. And, some desire to actu­ally NOT rel­ish in the dis­trac­tions of your job. I know so many peo­ple who just can’t get out of their own way. They spin up inter­nal BS; they med­dle with use­less part­ner reps; or they focus on the details that just don’t matter.

And it’s so easy to end up down that path. Some peo­ple just like the chaos, but I think most peo­ple do this for two rea­sons. They’re avoid­ing the “hard” part of their job, i.e. they use that 2 hour block mess­ing with the fonts on the quote they’re send­ing out instead of mak­ing cold calls OR they’re drum­ming up dis­trac­tions for lots of peo­ple so no one will notice they suck at their job. The lat­ter won’t care about this blog. They’re just hop­ing their man­agers don’t smoke them out. The for­mer group can make a change for the better.

At the end of the day, sales is one of the most well defined jobs there is. You pretty much have a sin­gle MBO – close busi­ness.  And do it over and over and over again. And you’re rewarded on that with big­ger, fat­ter com­mis­sion checks.  Cut and dry. Win or lose. Close busi­ness, make money. Close more busi­ness, make more money.

So how do you keep your­self from the BS that can so eas­ily occupy (and waste) your time? Keep a list of  your pri­or­i­ties. Write it down, put it on your desk next to the pic­tures of your kids and your com­mis­sion state­ments and then work the list.  The trick is com­ing up with the right list. Each week, take the 15 min­utes or so to make this list. And don’t just write a bunch of crap down. Make it the list of the top 10 things you need to do this week to move X deals for­ward, get Y deals in your pipe, etc.

And then read your list again. Does every­thing on your list directly impact clos­ing busi­ness? I mean DIRECTLY. Not indi­rectly. Let’s be clear here. Because you could eas­ily say that spend­ing time edu­cat­ing the dopey rep from the cor­po­rate mar­ket­ing part­ner that pre­tends to helps you sell stuff. Because maybe, just maybe he’ll say the right thing at the right time to the right person.

But does it really? Is edu­cat­ing him really the best way to spend your time? Or should you just call 10 peo­ple on your own in the same span of time? You could cer­tainly jus­tify it to your­self…. But that puts you back in the cat­e­gory of the guy avoid­ing his real job.  Don’t be that guy.

I have 2 sto­ries from this week alone where I watched this happen.

The first is of a guy spin­ning up his time, my time, other reps and account  sup­port people’s time to find out what prod­uct set some client in a dif­fer­ent ter­ri­tory is using so he can tell a ven­dor part­ner of ours who’s try­ing to fig­ure out some tech­ni­cal solu­tion for an account that IS NEVER GOING TO BUY ANYTHING FROM US. EVER. (and I know you’re read­ing this.) He’s jus­ti­fied it in that if the ven­dor part­ner *could* make things bet­ter and if the client was hap­pier with the other guy’s solu­tion, they *might* be more inclined to add this rep’s prod­uct to the mix.  Great.  Excel­lent jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.  But I could think of 10 more things he could be doing instead that would more likely direct his abil­ity to close busi­ness. And for the other folks who didn’t tell him to piss off or ignore the dis­trac­tion – you fall in the same ‘avoid­ing your job’ cat­e­gory too!

Or, there’s a woman I know who just loves to spin stuff up. All the time. She has a boss who can help her get any­thing and every­thing she needs from her inter­nal resources. He can block her from all the behind the scenes BS so she can just DO HER JOB and not get dis­tracted by the idi­otic idio­syn­crasies of her cor­po­rate office. But she can’t help it. She emails 10 peo­ple at a time, address­ing no one in par­tic­u­lar to help her with a quote, or a client ques­tion, or a prospect doc­u­ment need. She spins all of these peo­ple up and then com­plains she’s so busy man­ag­ing all the cor­po­rate BS, she can’t cold call or learn more about a solu­tion set to expand her mar­ket seg­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. It’s nuts.

Do your­self a favor. Make a list, read it back, and make sure every­thing on it has a 1 step direct line to you clos­ing busi­ness.  Do this dili­gently and you’ll find you get more done in less time and that you’re more effec­tive.  Elim­i­nate dis­trac­tions. You might even be able to jump in the pool the occa­sional Fri­day after­noon this August.

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