Following a busy and highly enjoyable day delivering a fantastic Sales Training Workshop to an eager bunch of learners, the weekend approaches and it’s now time to get out into the fresh air. Tomorrow I am spending a day gaining some much needed exercise, walking the hills North of my hometown. The thought takes me back to a story told recently by a beleaguered colleague who spent a day walking in the Cotswolds.
A goal was set to complete the route in two hours and following a hearty lunch at a local pub (ref: Sauvignon Blanc) off they set. My colleague and her sister set off on their ‘2 hour walk’, clutching the torn out pages from the Sunday Times which had acted as the inspiration and guide for their recommended route. The Times had accurately captured the atmosphere of their ramble – pretty country cottages, rose gardens, babbling brooks and fields anticipating the emerging shoots of new crops.
With dusk descending, with mobile phones and any other ways of communicating to the rest of the world “safely” locked up back in the car, they retraced their steps. The once pretty copses and brooks eerily veiled in mistiness and chilled thoughts turning to werewolves, escaped lunatics and bedding down for the evening. In the now pitch darkness they came across a track and deciding it must lead somewhere they head off with a new found hope.Two hours later, “This landscape looks remarkably similar to how it did an hour ago” and as an identical farmyard building came into view, a cottage with the same wisteria clad frontage, the penny dropped. They had made an error at one of the junctions and had literally gone round in a circle for over two hours and now found themselves at the furthest possible point from their start and end point.
Suddenly a voice…
“Bit late to be out for a walk” commented a farmer as he approached on his tractor. Having directed our intrepid travellers toward the main road, they wearily followed the route back and five hours after setting off saw the welcoming site of the car park where they had left it and adventure complete.
Benefits of their attempt!
- Sense of adventure and a tale to tell
- Sure they burnt off double the calories and saw the English countryside (most of it twice!)
- Learnt a bit about how they reacted in moments of crisis and the need for a well thought through plan and clearly defined strategy!
- But they didn’t complete the walk – they didn’t achieve their goal.
The tale above makes me turn my thoughts back to Sales Training and our Sales Effectiveness.
Often during sales training we are asked to work with teams to develop their questioning, objection handling and negotiation skills.
All valid and essential skill but how often do we go into sales calls a little bit like an adventure into the hills? We know we want to get somewhere… but lack a clear end goal and a strategy for success!
Give consideration to highly successful people from the business, sports or entertainment world.
What do they all have in common over and above talent? In interviews you will often hear them saying or read the following, I always dreamed of this… I always wanted to be…. I always knew what I had to do.
They possess a sense of purpose, determination to succeed, a clear vision and clarity of goals.
An inspiring Vision and Goal clarity increases motivation and preparedness. Many respected men (and women) have told us so and warned of the shortcoming of not!
“Begin with the end in mind” Stephen Covey, The Eight Habits
“To a man without a port, there are no fair winds” Unknown
“A person going nowhere normally gets there” Richard Denny, Selling to Win
Why do we often embark on meetings and sales call with no objective or with the attitude of “lets just ask a couple of questions and see where it goes” but expect exceptional sales results? In post call analysis (if conducted) the sales professional will often reflect or comment, “perhaps I should have” or “I could have tried” or “next time I will”.
Sometimes we never get a second chance and perhaps the wisest of them all Albert Einstein captured it best when commenting that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!”