There are simple steps to accomplishing any task. Make sure you are focused. Don't allow any distractions.

There are simple steps to accomplishing any task. The task can be short term: a 30-day special offering. The task can be long term: your annual sales quota. The guide to resolving any of these questions is to follow the following steps.

Make sure you are ready and focused

Before you begin analyzing any tasks or questions, make sure you have all the information available. Make sure your mind is clear of all other distractions, worries or anything that might interfere with you being focused on the problem you are about to tackle. I prefer to be in a quiet space with no distractions - no phone or music. I like to spend some quiet time composing myself and thinking about a task with my eyes closed. Often I will fall asleep the night before thinking about the problem and the possible solutions. Many times the next morning I am ready to work on the solution and find that I have focused ideas as a result of "sleeping on it."

Don't allow any distractions

I just wrote about being focused. The space where you work is a key factor to maintaining your focus. I prefer to work from a desk or table that only has the items needed to solve the problem or question at hand. Everything on my desk is put aside or out of sight. Piles of papers are a constant reminder that there are other things that need to be accomplished and often creates cutter in your mind, preventing you to focus. Until you have finished this exercise, nothing enters the room or interprets your thought process.

Understand the priorities of the task

The time element required to complete this task is important. What is that requirement? What are the sales requirements of this task? How am I going to accomplish the sales quota? It is amazing how many salespeople I talk to who are given a sales quota but don't break it down into segments for each of their customers. Let me give you an example: Suppose your company has a 30-day sale on a product line or special product. You're expected to sell a significant number of them. What would you have to do to make sure you meet your target?

I suggest:

  • Make a list of all your accounts that currently use the product and the sales they have made during a time period similar to this event.

  • Now compare this figure to the sales target for your area.

  • Go over all your accounts that use this product and set up a goal for each one.

  • Look at all the accounts you sell to see if there some customers who normally don't buy this product from you and see if there might be a good way to convert them.

    This is always a great way to go after the new accounts. New accounts and their numbers are not reflected in your current quota, and it's a great way to introduce your company to new customers and increase your future base.

    Implement the plan and work it

    Once you have sliced your pie into pieces you feel are doable, start the plan. Don't be distracted from the goals you have set for each customer. When listing your customer goals, take time to put them in the customer's file. That means when you visit an account, look at your customer book and see what your the goal is for them. Are you going to be able to meet it? If you find some goals are too high, that only means you must find others to pick up the slack.

    Continually set goals and objectives for yourself. You need to have the goals reachable, but make them a stretch. Challenge yourself.

    (Dave Gleason has more than 40 years of experience in contracting, engineering and wholesaling. He has put these experiences into a comprehensive consultation and training company called Systematic Selling Inc., which offers customized sales seminars and workshops. Contact him at 1165 Antioch Campground Road, Gainesville, GA 30506; phone (800) 447-7355; fax (717) 698-6555.)