Every salesperson struggles with it, and it costs some of us our commissions, our careers and even our families.
It keeps us up at night or wakes us at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat. It’s what our sales leaders say we must improve if we want to succeed, and it’s the thing we hate the most.
What is this awful, but critical task that every salesperson wrestles with?
It’s different salesperson to salesperson, but it does share one trait: It’s the thing we want to do the least, and the thing that we tend to avoid the most.
For some salespeople, it’s cold calling. For others, it’s researching new prospects to fill our pipelines. Regardless of what that task is for you, if it’s important enough to feel bad about putting off, or important enough for our sales leaders to tell us to do more of it, then it’s worth paying attention to.
So how do we identify our ‘toughest sales task’ and plan to attack it, knowing that it’s the thing we want to do the least?
To find an answer to that question, we asked Larry Long, Jr., the chief experience officer of LLJR Enterprises, and author of the new book Jolt. He showed us how to identify our toughest sales task and decide to finally tackle it.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Larry recommends beginning a system like this by mapping out the different tasks in your sales process and ‘taking your temperature’ around each. Which ones light you up, and which ones are you coldest about?
The ones that don’t light you up will be the sales tasks that you will be most likely to procrastinate or rush through as quickly as possible without using a process. That means either the task doesn’t get done or it gets half done as you try and get it off your plate as quickly as possible.
R – Repeatable: Now that you know what things you’re least passionate about, Larry says to simply do two things to make them easier and ensure they get done:
- Document a process. What simple steps does it take to get that task done? You’ll want to include who, what, when, where and how. That will ensure you’re engaging the right people, doing the right things, at the right time, at the right place and the tactics you’ll use to accomplish it.
If cold calling is your toughest task, your ‘document’ step may look like: Call qualified decision makers on my priority outreach list, qualifying them for budget and buying window, during my call block at 9am, at my desk and using my outreach script.
That will ensure you map out what needs to happen.
- The second step is simple: Take action. Now that you have a defined process, execute your steps involving the folks you’ve identified, doing the things that need to happen, at the time you say it needs to be done, at the place that’s most appropriate and using the steps you know work.
Breaking a tough task down to its separate elements ensures that you don’t have to tackle the whole project in one step. Rather, you can ensure you’re in the right environment with the tools you need to be successful.
I – Improvable: To improve on the things that are the toughest tasks for you, Larry says to ask both the highest and lowest performers on your team and in your network. You will likely discover few people (and most low performers) don’t have a process they’re following. That will show you that a process is critical for success in your toughest area. The highest performers may not have a written process in the area you’re working on, but they will do things in a repeatable format. Study that to build and improve your own system for how you tackle your toughest areas.
M – Measurable: To measure the success of a system that’s targeting the sales tasks you struggle with the most, Larry says to set a goal that you can measure success against. That may not be in traditional sales results, because you may have been putting off the task you’re measuring or underperforming in it due to lack of process.
Are you engaging in the activity more now that you have a process? Are you conducting more of that task, whether it’s filling the pipeline, conducting outreach, or preparing for sales meetings? If you’re seeing that you’re engaging in the task more, you know you’re actualizing more of the potential you have in sales. Larry says that’s the formula for more impact and more income.