Mike Tyson is many things, but did you ever consider him a sales trainer or a business coach?
But consider this quote, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Mike, I call him Mike, because we’re close like that, was being interviewed about his opponent’s strategy coming into a fight and that was his response. His meaning being that all of his opponents have plans to move, to dance, to slide, and then “Boom!” he lands a solid hit and they forget their plan and freeze.
Does that sound familiar?
Often, when I’m working with a business owner we will come up with a plan to move forward with. Something that represents a departure from past practices. There will be excitement. There will be commitment. There will be planning. And then a hiccup occurs. “Boom!” Freeze…
The same thing happens with salespeople! They decide to target a large new account. They know it is an ambitious plan, but they believe the opportunity warrants the investment of time. They design an account acquisition plan. They research. They plan some more. They start to reach out to contacts and… “Boom!” Freeze…
I don’t write this to denigrate business owners or salespeople who freeze or retrace their steps when they encounter a challenge. Quite the opposite, I write this to help business owners and salespeople to avoid this predicament.
Here are a few keys (3 in fact!):
1. Make sure that plan is a good one!
- Why did you decide to do this in the first place?
- Did you think this all the way through?
- What was the compelling business reason you decided to do this?
- What is the “upside” if this plan works? (Reward)
- What is the “downside” if it doesn’t? (Risk)
- What resistance can you anticipate?
- Who/what will oppose this change?
If you have answers to these questions you are far more likely to stick through that first “punch to the mouth” because you will be more confident and you will have a better idea of what to expect and WHY you are investing your energy, revenue, and time.
2. Do you have a process or system in place to support your plan?
Change and growth aren’t easy. If they were I wouldn’t have a job so I’m admittedly conflicted about it, but my inner conflict doesn’t alter any realities so here we are. Everyone has a strong tendency to reconsider change when they encounter resistance. This is pretty common knowledge, so let’s be ready for this inevitability. The best way to reduce the likelihood that that “punch to the mouth” doesn’t put us back where we were is to put a process, or system, in place to support our new plan.
Not only will this increase our confidence but it will increase the tools we have at our disposal to prevent that punch from landing in the first place.
- What tools do you have at your disposal to support you?
The more extensive the answer to that question, the more support you have to assist you in your plan!
3. Reward the outcome
I have spent the majority of my adult life in “pay for performance” roles. And, if I’m being honest, I’ve made and/or witnessed a ridiculous amount of mistakes over the span of my career. I might even go as far as to say that I have either made or been a part of nearly every mistake imaginable.
Sorry to brag there.. 😉
That’s life in a sales environment! But, one thing that I can say that we got right OFTEN was to remember to reward people for success. Don’t underestimate the value of building rewards into the structure of your support plan.
Topic for another day: Make sure your compensation plans reward the RIGHT behavior!
These three steps will go a very long way in helping you to keep moving forward when that inevitable “punch” comes. After all, no one ever said it would be easy…
“I had to persevere because this was my life. This championship, this was the stuff I dreamt of all my life, and I wasn’t gonna be denied.” ~Mike Tyson
What have your experiences been? ~Start a conversation in the comments below!
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