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It's the beginning of the month... What's next? Where do I start?


So many times in sales we are conditioned that the first of the month is a whole new adventure as most targets reset. Just forget what happened last month and focus on the present we are told but is that what we should be doing or is there something else that we are missing?


As my life has always been linked to sales in one way or another and most definitely tied to performance based compensation ie. commission I was one of the masses and measured on a target system. This system was the historic value system in most cases where it was a simple equation of what did we as a collective do last year, what are we expected to meet this year and then divided back out amongst the team accordingly by skill and tenure. As simple as it gets with slight deviation granted to the management to change personal numbers based on current performance. This practice was developed by many and given to everyone with team members receiving high fives, attaboys and attagirls to all those that hit their individual targets, those who didn't were put on the hot seat and given various forms of notice to do better or else. Thinking this through if we are setting targets for either a year, quarter or month and basing them on historic values or even targets set without merit based on predictions from the stakeholders how should we individually look at them.


I've always believed that being in commissioned based sales I not only represented my employer but myself as a shadow company. This shadow company was the greatest ever as my employer gave me everything that I needed to be successful. They gave me a format, product, financing, advertising, marketing, staffing, telecommunications, and so much more. All for a set predetermined margin already negotiated upon the only variable was achieving the target. As most businesses fail from a lack of capital, my shadow company wouldn't as there was no capital investment only time and effort. From this I knew if I hit the targets what exactly I or the shadow company would earn and I only concentrated on exceeding those numbers every time. If I did this I would be successful know exactly what profitability I would have plus if I increased the numbers it would only improve my bottom line results.


So how did I consistently do this... I created my own Personal Business Plan or PBP. This PBP was my roadmap to success. As I didn't have to worry about any of the other operations of the business because my employer was generously providing them to my shadow business I split my PBP into two separate areas Sales and Operations.


In Sales, I utilized the foundation of performance targets defining them into three categories, Budgets, Targets and Goals. Budget was what I needed to accomplish as set by my employer, Target was a percentage above Budget, and Goal was double the percentage Target was. I always shot for the Goal, accepted Target and was disappointed with the Budget. This kept me competitive with myself. The second sales section of my PBP was establishing my personal KPIs or Key Performance Indicators and I started to track and chart them. In Automobile Sales it was always a pure numbers game defined by data. Simply, if I wanted more sales I would need more people or a greater conversion rate, if I wanted a greater commission I would need to improve either the negotiation or increase the value of the sale/margin. Regardless I would need to track and chart this to give me the ability of managing the business. Once this became second nature I could see trends as well as potential obstacles and areas of concern addressing them before a crisis. This self-management allowed for me to react quickly and insightfully allowing for a pathway to success.


With Operations, it was about creating business both internally and externally. Internal was the opportunities provided by my employer with leads through personal, digital and historical contact. External being how was I going to go out and cultivate and convert them into clients. One as equally important as another. Knowing the closing ratios as tracked from the Sales KPI's I could plan and act accordingly to probabilities of conversion. Current clients were worth way more than an internet lead or call, appointments ruled over showroom traffic and a referral trumped everything. So I created a method of capture for referrals, repeats and appointments weighting them accordingly to showroom traffic, calls and internet inquiries. I furthered my outreach knowing how important it was to be known for my brand and to create a brand of my own. In investing time and effort I was creating my own brand through referrals and appointments. Repeat business was solidified with work ethic and find opportunities that benefited the client thereby creating referrals and building my brand. All of which continued to increase conversion rates and build the revenue stream. All of this I tracked and could tell where my greatest return on investment came from both with effort and financial returns. With all this I knew where to focus my efforts, plan outreaches and maximize potential.


Does this sound like work? Sure it is but nobody ever got anything or anywhere without effort. This time and effort will pay dividends in many ways, the rewards will be huge and what once this habit is formed it will become second nature. Moreso when developing and following your PBP; shooting for the Goals, hitting Targets and never breaking Budgets, following operational planning you will develop clientele without reliance of your employer creating additional income far beyond that of the OTE. Additionally your value will internally will rise and the pressure to produce will be eliminated. Management will become allies and the future will exceed expectation set by your employer. Remember Dale Carnegie said "An hour of planning can save you ten hours of doing", the only thing stopping you is you.


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