Let’s say in your a sales job and if you sell 4 widgets in a day, it’s a good solid day. Then let’s say your best day ever is 7. Then one day, on a busy day, your boss comes in and lays out a contest. “Anyone that sells 10 today, gets tomorrow off.” What are the thoughts that go through your head?
I had this gauntlet thrown at me years ago in a sales job. When he threw out 10, my reaction was a mix of disbelief and shock. I am sure I laughed out loud and thought that no one could do it. As the day went on, my numbers started to add up. I blew by 4 before noon, picked up two in a row around 1, and by 3 pm I was at 8. Unbelievable!
I ended the day at 9, a new personal best and a monster day. Did I earn the day off by getting close? Nope. I learned a lot more on that day.
I am a competitive person. I don’t know where that came from. It may be genetic or it may be because I had an older brother who beat me in everything and I just was always needing to get better. This competitive drive is a foundation of good salespeople. If you are a clockwatcher or could care less if you end up in the middle of the pack, get out of sales. Now. You have my permission to give your two weeks. Your boss will thank you and be ecstatic.
That day, when I was asked to try and sell 10 when my BEST day EVER was 8 seemed ludicrous. It didn’t seem like it was possible because I had never done it before. Did that mean I couldn’t do it? Had someone ever done it before? Yes. Is it humanly possible to be done? Yes.
We need to push our limits if we want to find excellence. Complacency is easy, it is boring and it is uninspiring. Now that I have a business of my own, I will do the same to my team. I will put numbers in front of them that make them feel uncomfortable and help them break through a ceiling that they have been trapped under.
The most powerful thing about hitting a stretched number, or even coming close, is it expands your belief of what is now possible. Once you hit that number that seemed out of reach, it will not become an anomaly. It will become your new normal.
The constraints we put on ourselves are put there by ourselves. They are put there because maybe we never challenged ourselves or we believe what others are achieving is acceptable. So what are the mechanics of magically upping your production? It’s really not that difficult.
- Write it down. There is something so real about physically writing a goal down. It is the easiest way to hit a number. It is a way of telling the world what you are about to do. It’s a promise to yourself and you don’t want to let yourself down. It is a constant reminder to stay on track. Write it on your mirror, put it on your computer, carve it in your desk, set a daily reminder on your phone or do all of those things. Just writing a goal down is worth a 10% increase.
- Set small incremental goals. Don’t throw up a huge annual number. This can be counterproductive in the event you have an off quarter and fall behind out of the gate. If your goal is to sell 100 widgets this year and by the halfway mark you are at 38, you might talk yourself out of chasing that goal. “How can I now sell 62 more in the second half, If I only sold 38 in the first half?” If you set a weekly goal of 20 a week and fall 4 short one week, you can definitely make those 4 up in the next week or so.
- Reverse engineer your numbers. If you want to sell 100 widgets, how many people do you need to talk to? What is your closing ratio for people you talk to in terms of sales? If you talk to 10 people and sell to 5, your closing ratio is 50%. So you need to talk to 200 people this year. If there are 240 business days in a year, that means if you talk to one person a day, you will blow by your number. That is only 20 a month. 5 per week, or one per day.
If you do those three simple things, you will separate from the pack and break all of your personal bests. The trick is doing it consistently and not having a good month and resting. Every month the clock is reset. This is something that you have to embrace and it needs to feed you instead of exhaust you. Now go break some records.