The work that I do is so much fun!
I work with a category of professionals that I have come to name, “SEL”—Sales professionals, Entrepreneurs and Leaders. I create mentorship and training content for them, I work with them in groups, and (selectively) I coach them individually. In my way of thinking, these 3 specific categories of people are the BEST to work with because they’re usually very bright, extremely open to new mindsets and concepts, and they’re willing to take some risk.
So I LOVE the thousands of “SEL” types that subscribe to our work at: www.joebuzzello.com
But if I ever get frustrated when I’m working with one of these smart people it’s usually because they’ve lost focus on their CORE work—they are all over the place…ping ponging off walls.
Unfocused is the best word for it.
What I mean is, these smart entrepreneurs are trying to do too much in their business. This is especially common with a new salesperson or someone with a newer venture or business. They attempt to work with too many markets and/or sell too many products using too many messages, each one sounding different from the one before.
It’s usually a chocolate mess when I find this going on.
One of the best-kept secrets of the ultra successful salesperson or entrepreneur revolves around the words FOCUS and CORE. The secret is that top performers absolutely, 100% know that they are at their best when they are focused on that ONE core thing that works for them. (At least until they have that thing wired)
Let me try to explain this singular way of thinking that I like to see go on (at least initially) inside of your business venture.
When I started my career in the insurance industry, I had to learn a script—ONE script—verbatim—before they let me out into the field. I sold ONE $39.00 accident policy that paid $19.50 commission. Initially I sold no other products. I was told to pursue ONE market—the self-employed small businessperson.
Initially, I thought this extreme focus on ONE core product, market and message was limiting, but I soon figured out that it was brilliant. It was an awesome way for a salesperson with no prior experience (like me) to get started. It was simple and I couldn’t become confused. I simply had to hone and zone on one product, market and message. My manager, Tom, told me we’d add some additional stuff to the mix later. He challenged me to become great at that one thing first.
“It was an awesome way for a salesperson with no prior experience (like me) to get started. It was simple and I couldn’t become confused.”
Think about it, if you remove the potential points of confusion up front, like the questions:
“What products/solutions should I focus on first?”
“What markets or micro markets should I be approaching now?”
“How should I structure my presentation?”
How much more focused would a salesperson be? He or she would know exactly WHAT to sell, to WHOM and HOW to deliver it!
This would be a world with zero guesswork and confusion! There’d be total focus on getting better at the core business. The salesperson would simply need to pop out of bed each morning and go to work…just EXECUTE their game plan!
When I was new in B2B insurance sales on 1979, this method gave me the power to focus on one product for one market with one message.
It also made it possible for me to begin consistently ranking in the top 5 producers in the state within six months. After fourteen months I was offered a training/management position and after two years I had scraped enough money to plop down a down payment on my first house. I was making more money than I ever imagined I’d make at that juncture!
All while just focusing on ONE thing!
When I think back in time and recall the best salespeople I’ve witnessed (and by “BEST” I mean those who earned the most in commissions) I’m able to quickly identify that they embodied the following characteristics:
- They focused on their CORE product(s) or service(s)
- They identified (and called on) their target market only
- They had a very clear/concise (focused) message
- They never deviated from the CORE unless they were 100% sure that the marketing pivot would create better results
There were several times in my career when I’ve felt LOST—times when I was silently asking myself questions that sounded much like:
“What the ‘F’ business am I even in anymore?”
It was at these times that I stopped the madness and started employing the power of ONE-ness. I would ask and answer the following 5 questions:
- What is my core product or solution?
(The products and/or solutions that supply the highest ROI for me)
- Who is my laser sharp target audience?
(The people who are most receptive to my program)
- Where can I find them?
(What are my most reliable and dependable lead sources?)
- What is the clear message that works a reasonable % of the time and, am I delivering that very message consistently?
- Am I delivering this message enough times per day and per week?
(Do I have my pipeline full and getting fuller?)
If you review this list of key self-coaching questions you will note that I’m asking you to adopt ONE core product/solution, ONE target audience and ONE clear/concise message to deliver.
Now, before you say, “Joe, my business is complex, and becoming more complex by the day. I have to focus on many things. In fact the home office, my upline, my manager, or the franchisor, is asking me to learn and use all of these new tools!”
I know, I know…I get it.
And I will tell you this, if they are paying you a salary and giving you benefits and your ultimate efficiency as a salesperson isn’t a big concern to them or you, then have fun. Jump “all over the place,” try everything and do nothing well. Have a blast if it isn’t your dime!
But if it IS your dime—if you ARE a 1099 salesperson, (or a solopreneur) and your survival depends on you making great decisions about what you sell, who you sell it to and how you deliver the marketing and sales message, then you have to take care of your own business.
The truth is corporate America is generally clue-less and actually quite screwed up at times. (Sorry…just being real) On most occasions they’re all about what’s best for their bottom line. (Which usually equates to stock price.) It’s rare in this day and age for people in the C-suite to stop and consider the long-term health of their field force.
If you want to survive and thrive, then you may want to…
- Ask and answer the questions above
- Learn how to block out the white noise and distractions
- Filter what your hierarchy is telling you, looking only for what is of benefit to you and your family
- Figure out how to simplify your sales process
Are you 100% focused or a bit lost right now?
Look, if you are doing fine and your business is moving forward—growing at the rate you’d like, then don’t change a thing. However, if you are the least bit confused about your current direction, or your results suck, then use the self-coaching questions in this article to get back on target.
Ultimately, we are always better when we can focus our efforts. When we are diffused or diluted, we lose our way.
Identify the one product (or solution), market and message that works for you, laser focus in on it and watch your results improve and your stress level go down.
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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on the roles of direct selling, entrepreneurialism and leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his platform, www.joebuzzello.com and The CAP Equation©.