This blog article will explore one of those unwritten rules that will ensure a successful sales career. (IF you understand and practice it) The antithesis of this law is also exact. It’s one of those laws that, if not applied regularly will absolutely kill your career in short order.
There are very few certainties in life and in sales, but this is one of them. It’s an inevitability that you can rise to the top of your industry if you focus on and work your top PRIORITIES on a daily basis. Pros know this, (and they know what their priorities are), but even they sometimes forget to stay in the practice of them when they get caught up in the whirlwind of personal and business tasks and responsibilities.
I will describe what I believe the top 3 priorities are in a moment. First, I want to WARN YOU that there will be a great deal of resistance or white noise that occurs as you attempt to stay vigilant in working these priorities. Day to day crap will fly in your face as you try to balance your calendar and try to stay focused. Stuff that seems important will make its way into your schedule involuntarily. This will happen hourly, even by the minute, but if you plan on being a high paid pro, you MUST STAY FOCUSED on the priorities of your business. Pros know how to stay focused. Amateurs don’t.
I refer to this as Majoring in the Majors.
Top producers spend a MAJOR amount of time on things of MAJOR importance.
Pros are fanatical about their priorities and they get them done come hell or high water. Top salespeople know that their production and income is dependent on staying attentive to the things that matter. Pros don’t waver on this point; however, failing salespeople are all over the board on this concept. They don’t get this part of the equation right. They let the white noise win. They succumb to the resistance.
I promise to get to what I believe the top 3 priorities are, but you are probably wondering what I’m referring to when I use the word RESISTANCE or I reference the phrase WHITE NOISE. Resistance or white noise is anything other than the top 3 priorities; it is any more comfortable task or duty, (necessary or not) that doesn’t fall into the category of TOP 3 PRIORITIES.
It’s any work that you choose to do during your prime selling time that takes you off the hook for the real important stuff!
If you don’t automatically ‘get’ that last statement, then please fold up your tent and get a job in a cubicle punching a time clock, because you are sunk already!
So, without reading any further, you probably understand that the TOP 3 PRIORITIES have to get done every day and they are less comfortable tasks than the top 3. You also probably understand that amateurs surrender to doing LOW priority stuff in the heart of their day. They roll over and slowly die.
Okay, enough about that…let’s get to the top 3 priorities…we can argue the fine points of what the top priorities are, but not that much. They have always been what they have always been, and they haven’t changed since I put on my first necktie and asked a prospect to sign on the dotted line. There are 3 major priorities that a frontline, outside sales person must focus on and they rank in this order of importance:
Priority #1: Writing the Order, (Or enrolling a member)
The top priority is to write orders, facilitate the sales, and enroll members. This is the payoff. Everything you do with your primetime selling hours needs to feed this objective. If you have the opportunity to close and write an order, this is your highest and best use as a professional salesperson. If someone says “YES” you need to be there with a pen in your hand and the pen should have ink in it.
Priority #2: Face to face with a Decision Maker
If you are not busy taking an order, then your second most important urgency is being face-to-face with, presenting to, and closing a targeted prospect. While Priority #1 is your payoff, Priority #2 and #3 is how you get there. Every minute of your time, every ounce of your energy, (if you are not busy writing an order) should be spent getting in front of decision makers so you can tell your story.
Priority #3: Driving Appointments, (with Qualified Prospects)
I mentioned earlier you need to “Major in the Majors.” That is, you need to spend a major amount of time on things of major importance to your business. So, it stands to reason that if you are not doing #1, writing an order, or doing #2, presenting to a decision maker, then you better be doing #3. You better be filling your pipeline and prospecting like a crazy person. If you are brand new, or restarting your career, a full calendar of qualified appointments will be the only thing that will save you.
There you have it. Those are the top 3 priorities for a frontline salesperson. Like the commercial on T.V. says, “It’s not that complicated.”
When I explain and expand upon this concept of the top 3 priorities during a live CAP Equation® training event or at a CAP Live® group coaching session, I’m often asked what the next, or 4th priority of most importance is.
To answer this collective question, I simply reflect back upon a time when I walked into our training room, back in the mid 2000s, and I observed our state training coordinator, Jody Willis, teaching this very concept to our new sales associates. A man raised his hand and asked this same question. Now, instead of Jody neatly categorizing what may be of secondary importance, what may #4 on the list, he opted for a more direct assault on the question. Jody answered tersely:
“There isn’t a #4”
I watched the bemused and confused faces after Jody’s curt answer. I observed a few of the new salespeople write Jody’s answer down. Others raised their hands to argue the point or to attempt to rationalize that there may be other things that should be practiced during prime selling hours. The new salespeople that took Jody’s answer as gospel were most likely the people that stuck and stayed and profited.
I’m not sure I can speak for the others.
So there you have it. There are 3 top priorities, things that you should spend your prime selling time on, and nothing else.
Oh, and if anyone tries to tell you any different, they are lying to you.