70% Of Your Sales Team Is Making This Mistake

The following is adapted from Raise Your Standards.

Most sales professionals think they’re super productive. But are they confusing being busy with being truly productive? Are they getting the results they desire? 

When you’re busy, you’re putting out fires all day. In that state, what are you doing to make headway on your long-term goals? Do you really have demonstrable results to show at the end of your day, or just a list of returned emails and a wastebasket of empty coffee cups?

In this article, we’ll look at how we often fool ourselves with the illusion of productivity. Only once we realized what’s holding us back can we focus on results-driven activities that make sales. 

Are You Methods or Results-Focused?

Salespeople are by nature confident and activity focused. But simply performing activities all day doesn’t necessarily close deals and bring in high commission. Most sales professionals’ activities fall into two categories: methods focused or results-focused. 

Methods-focused activity is the illusion of real productivity or getting results. Results-focused activity is getting results...plain and simple.

To give you a hint about which camp you belong in, think about these metrics:

  • 5 percent of sales professionals are achievers, those who are results-focused.
  • 25 percent are wannabe achievers; they wish they were results-focused.
  • 70 percent are job seekers who are comfortable being methods driven. 

Which group do you fall into? Which one do you want to be? 

What Does Methods-Driven Activity Look Like?

Job seekers are the majority of the world’s salesforce. They’re a lot of talk but little action.

They talk about how busy they are but don’t ever get the job done, close the big deal, or make the sale. Why? They spend the bulk of their time in methods-driven activity.

Methods-driven activity looks a lot like preparing to do business, “prospect research,” going to appointments that don’t add value, and checking email every one and a half

minutes. It’s an illusion of busyness, making it look like you are neck-deep in work, surrounded by the whirling dervish of perceived action. 

However, it’s a house of cards. You put on a good show, but every Sunday night there’s a gnawing pit in your stomach. You may know that feeling. You’re wondering when you’ll hit the sales lottery. You know that you won’t make your goals, and you pray like hell that your boss won’t take notice and start asking you the hard questions.

Wannabe achievers do a little better. They focus on results-driven activity only part of the time. Maybe they are not hungry enough, or perhaps they don’t know what they’re capable of, but either way, they’re cheating themselves. 

They cheat themselves because they know what focusing on results-driven activity looks like, but they don’t commit long term. They may have streaks of focus, but overall they drift in and out. They lack the courage to play at a high-level day in and day out. They get distracted by new projects that only serve as a diversion.

How Do You Switch to Results-Driven Activity?

On the other hand, results-driven activity and working hard feels fantastic. Maybe it’s only happened for a day, an afternoon or even an hour or two, but you’ve surely felt

it. You concentrated on closing deals, you made more calls than ever, and you were dialed in. 

You even forgot to eat lunch because you were kicking ass and taking names. In the zone, in the flow, whatever you call it, you were focused on your results!

How do results-driven salespeople stay on track day after day? Discipline. They make plans, and they stick to them. They don’t waste time. They follow through. 

Results-driven salespeople see discipline as freedom, not imprisonment. They know that on the other side of all that organization and commitment is the reward of hitting or exceeding their targets and knowing they made it happen.

Keep Going, You Will Get There 

So don’t settle or give in. It will be hard. It will not be easy. You will doubt yourself. You will challenge your ability to focus on results. You will think that you can’t do this.

Doing the hard things that will force you to focus on results will make you a better person. These difficult moments will define your career, life, and success.

It’s not easy, but being mediocre and broke isn’t fun either.

Force yourself to concentrate on results-driven activity every day for as long as you can (remember, discipline will set you free). Find an accountability partner, get focused and hang a poster on your wall that asks...“Are you focused on results or methods right now?” Raise your standards. 

For more advice on activities that drive sales results, you can find Raise Your Standards on Amazon.

Mark Evans might be the most enthusiastic person you’ll ever meet. His love of sales, life, and the game of business is infectious. He believes that at its very core, sales doesn’t have to be manipulative or sleazy. In fact, Mark believes it’s the greatest job in the world. He’s helped companies and individuals reach the seven-figure sales mark and beyond. At markpatrickevans.com, Mark writes about the new way of selling, and sales leadership.