A lot has been said about the importance of maintaining the proper sales mindset. It is virtually impossible to succeed in sales or as an entrepreneur if you don’t, “keep your head right.”
And I don’t disagree at all, having spent my entire post Marine Corps life in sales and management roles I know first-hand that this is true.
But, I wasn’t ALWAYS in sales…
I started my “work life” at the ripe old age of 9 on a vegetable farm, earning a whopping $.75/hr!
- Yes, the decimal point is in the right place!
- No, it wasn’t 1792, farmers don’t pay minimum wage
- Yes, I have forgiven my parents… 🙂
I worked on the farm until High School where I transitioned to the glamorous world of dish washing.
Why am I telling you this?
You know what NO ONE tells a farmer?
“You have to get your head right in order to succeed!”
And yet, the similarities are shocking:
On a farm (vegetable farm ~ what I know about raising livestock wouldn’t fill a thimble!) you:
- Determine what you will grow
- Prepare your fields
- Plant your seeds/seedlings
- Maintain your fields (weed, water, fertilize, etc.)
- Harvest your crop
- Prep the fields for winter (or the next crop I guess ~ I’m a Yankee and the only thing we grow here during the Winter is snow!)
In sales and business you:
- Identify your market
- Design and execute your marketing/sales plan
- Reach out to prospects (cold call, email, direct mail, etc.)
- Nurture your leads (multifaceted marketing/sales campaigns) and service your existing customers
- Close sales
- Expand in your current accounts and repopulate your prospect lists
Do you see the similarity?
In farming, if you don’t plant you don’t get to do this…
In Business, if you don’t keep prospecting you don’t get to do this…
Now, that’s probably not too hard to follow and I’m certain that you knew that, but where it gets difficult is when things get BUSY.
You know what I’m talking about:
- Your biggest client sends you a bunch of orders
- You need to build an Org Chart of a client that you KNOW has a ton more work than what you’re currently getting
- You need to check references on 3 different candidates before you send them over to a new client
- You are prepping for a big presentation at a new account
- You have an account review with another account
- You just got a call that you need to let one of your consultants go
Other than the last one, these are all GOOD things. All of these things, including the last one!, are very important and need to be dealt with.
But what about prospecting?
What about refreshing that prospect list?
What about all of that “top of the funnel” sales activity?
You see, that’s the big difference between the two.
In farming it’s OBVIOUS. If you don’t PLANT you don’t PICK. If you don’t PICK you don’t EAT.
The correlation is exactly the same in business. If you don’t have enough “top of the funnel” activity your sales funnel will empty and your business will suffer.
Believe me when I tell you, I know whereof I speak. I, like many (probably most!) veteran sales people, have made this mistake more than once. We get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent and hustle our behinds off, but we don’t make time to keep the top of the sales funnel full and then, after a period of time, we aren’t busy any more and we have the time we missed before, but no revenue to enjoy it with.
Because we didn’t keep our funnel full. We didn’t plant, so we don’t get to pick. If we were farmers this is what our fields would look like…
What do you think?
Are you ready to put on your “farmer hat” and go do some planting?
I know I am!
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