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How do you begin?

Most people seem to think of sales as a game of endings, probably because how you finish is what is ultimately measured.

  • a month
  • the quarter
  • their year

Although that is 100% true – it is also true that how you finish is directly related to how you begin.

My question today is,

how do you begin?

  • a month
    1 – exhausted by the push to make goal from the month before.
    2 – with a handle on your (or your team’s) forecast because you’re always looking ahead.
  • the quarter
    1 – relieved that it’s over and you have months before you must think about finishing again.
    2 – unfazed, because: regardless of your finish… below, at, or over goal – it wasn’t a surprise.
  • your year
    1 – ready to coast through the beginning before you start the push for year-end.
    – picking up speed from where you are, to get to where you want to be.

An airplane doesn’t take flight without a before takeoff checklist being completed THEN, a final checklist. Of course, it’s the pilot that performs the checklist!

Think of the before takeoff checklist as your sales research and planning.

If you’re a salesperson that may be looking at the LinkedIn profile of the person you’re about to call, the call creation, and company research to build your book of business.

As a front-line manager, you’ll be looking for account trends, product-specific shortages, or surplus, along with your sales team’s behaviors plus results.

In leadership that research and planning is probably on industry trends, company plans, as well as all the sales research and planning activity your managers and teams are doing themselves.

While your final checklist is the pieces that – if missing – will either make takeoff impossible OR your flight memorable but not a success!

Salespeople; think not only in terms of today… expand your vision out 3-months (notice I didn’t say the quarter – you should have a rolling three-month view of what is happening in your piece of the business.

Managers; consider what a small change today will amplify to look like as you move out and forward in time.

Sales Leaders; take everything you know strategically and ensure that it translates into tactics your managers and salespeople can use.

A flight best practice article reminds pilots “Don’t let complacency create dangerous conditions.” Perhaps if everyone in sales were to focus on what happens in the beginning, both sales take-offs and landings will be easier.

Let’s begin,
ps: for those of you (like me) who are curious, the image is the propellers of an AN-70 Airplane

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