The Altered Reality of Sales

April 13, 2010
The Altered Reality of Sales

Last week, I asked one of my sales reps if he was making phone calls on a campaign that we are working on. “I’m making calls,” he replied. Now, you have to understand that I sit right behind him, so give or take a call or two, I pretty much have a good idea about how many calls he is making.

“How many calls did you make since our ops meeting?” was my follow up question. “Three,” was the reply. We are talking close to two hours after the meeting. His reality and mine about the expected number of calls in that time period were totally different. I was thinking he should make at least six calls an hour, and that’s assuming reaching a couple of people. The other calls are voicemails. Now what does this signify?

First, I noticed that there was a ten to fifteen minute lag time between calls. The explanation I got was the need to write personalized follow up e-mails after each call, because it’s a list of close contacts who might be offended at an obviously generic e-mail.

OK, but I’m still thinking it’s taking too long between calls. I’m used to strapping the headset on, having a list in front of me, and working the list; one name after the next. Yes, there might be time needed to enter information about the call, but my reality for performing a successful calling campaign is to reach as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. I started to make my salesperson wrong.

Then I realized that his reality and mine are different. I can’t exactly figure out if he truly believes that he made the right number of calls or not, but I can only apply my own experience at other times to rationalize this behavior.

I often have spent a day thinking that I was productive, and then when I looked at my task count or the results that got produced, I realized that I was involved in too much busy work that was not on purpose to getting the job done. However, the numbers don’t lie. So if you tie yourself to the metrics and frequently check how many things you actually got done, you can figure out if they are meeting your goals or not.

Moving forward, he is going to review his process and determine what the task sequence should be. More importantly, he will set goals and measure against these daily to see in fact if he really did what he declared he would do in the most efficient manner possible.

This is another reason to measure selling activity, in order to assess your reality!

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