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Navigate AROUND Sales Obstacles

There are several definitions of navigation:

  1. To travel by water…
  2. To steer a course…
  3. To get around (movement)…

Although the first is what got me thinking, the other two have a lot more to do with sales; so don’t worry there will not be sail vs. sale puns throughout the whole issue (hmmmm, no really I will not do it!).

Outside Forces

When you’re looking at your sales career, there are a lot of outside forces at play.

Which is a lot like sailing – the wind, current, tides, boat traffic (pleasure & commercial), and we haven’t even mentioned where you’re trying to get to.

Which is why the first question to ask yourself is:

What outside forces
do I need to contend with?

My experience shows there are four main categories to consider when answering that question.

Personal “What Are”

  • all the fun things that will be a distraction?
  • the monumental events that are going to take place this year?
  • my current “happenings” that are stressing me out?

Professional “How”

  • am I going to make goal?
  • will my boss react to _________?
  • can I get around this obstacle?

Corporate “Who”

  • are the players I have to answer to?
  • am I worried about judging my performance?
  • is helping or hindering my progress?

Prospect & Customer “Why”

  • don’t they call me back?
  • am I spending my time on this account?
  • haven’t I earned their trust?

These are some examples for you; your personal questions might be different. Take a moment to figure out what outside forces you need to contend with. Then take the appropriate action.

To steer a course

Here is the key to steering your own course.

Know where you want to go!

Were you expecting something more complex? Sorry, the hard part is not the answer – rather the effort it will take you to go from where you are today, toward where you want to be.

When you have set a destination, make sure you know exactly where you are starting from – then every day take little steps that propel you forward.

Understanding that the outside forces (identified and unidentified) will be helping and hindering your forward progress.

To get around

As you start moving you may notice a funny thing, other people have passed this way before.

When you’re lucky, they have built some shortcuts and left them for you to use. 

Like locks that help people move past rapids on the rivers. Without it, you’d either have to try running the rapids OR carry your up and around – taking energy and effort you’d then not have to keep going.

With the lock, you glide in – the water level changes – glide out and continue on your merry way.

In my sales career, I’ve found this same help from; mentors, marketing departments, fellow salespeople, trainers, and even my competition. All helping me because they had navigated this way before.

It is important to recognize these navigation aids when they appear – use them when they work for you instead of expending effort to create a new way (for the sake of creating it yourself).

Of course, if their tool takes you further out of the way than personal effort, chart your own course.

Movement = Action
Action = Effort

One of the things about water travel is, if you aren’t moving faster than the water – you can’t steer!

It doesn’t matter if you’re sailing, kayaking, or white water rafting; without forward movement, the water (NOT you) is in control.

Sales is much the same, when you are going with the flow – the flow (NOT you) is deciding where you will end up.

Sometimes the flow is:

  • people on your team
  • calls coming in
  • existing accounts who take up your time
  • letting disappointment take over
  • coasting after a good month

To arrive at the destination of your choosing, you need to keep the effort up.
For the next month I challenge you to keep your eye on the destination, use the navigation tools people have built before you, and move faster than the flow.
Paddling along,

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