If you’re focusing on the numbers, you’re focusing on the wrong thing
I was an account executive many years ago — that’s a fancy-sounding word for an outside sales rep — and my process for soliciting clients and maintaining current clients was simple:
- Post a yellow sticky note with the names of 5 clients or prospects on my dashboard.
- Visit all five clients or prospects.
- Answer every phone call.
- If a client asked me to stop by, I’d do it — even if they weren’t on my list and I had to drive across town.
It might not have been the most efficient way to work because I drove all over Houston and burned a lot of gasoline, but it worked for me.
I wouldn’t let management send me my weekly sales numbers as they did for all other account executives.
Throughout the month, my fellow AEs would call to share their numbers, and they would be irritated because I never knew mine. They’d say, “come on, Lisa, you know how many deals you closed!”
I didn’t. I knew I was closing deals, but I never focused on the amount of each deal or how many I got.
I kept focusing on my process. I continued to follow my system day after day, week after week, and month after month.
The result: I was the top-selling account executive in the company at least 95% of the time.
That’s right. It does sound crazy, and the CEO of the company thought it was — at first. I didn’t know my numbers until the end of the month when I got paid.
I tried it the other way at first.
But all I did was obsess over the numbers. I spent too much time and energy figuring out how much more I needed to get to $1 million or $3 million or more in sales.
It’s the same when you track your content, articles and social media accounts.
How many reads did my article get? How many followers did I get today? How many more do I need to get to reach 1,000? Did I get negative comments?
Once I stopped focusing on my numbers every day and week, my sales quadrupled.
If you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing simply for the money, you might as well stop right now. You might make some home runs, but I can tell you it won’t last.
And it sure won’t bring you much joy. The people who make it do it because they love what they’re doing and follow a process.
They focus on what their clients want.
They learn how to serve their clients or their readers.
What they don’t focus on is the money.
If you think I’m promoting the philosophy, “follow your passion, and the money will come,” you’re wrong. Of course, it’s important to be passionate about what you do. I hope you love what you’ve chosen to do. Passion is not enough to sustain you if you don’t have a process or system.
If you want to see what happens if you don’t have a process, I wrote about it here. The long story short is that I came within a nanosecond of dying because someone didn’t have a process.
You already have lots of systems and processes in your personal life, so why not put them into place for your business, writing or freelance gigs?
Even something as simple as where you place your keys at night when you come home is a system. Having a key system saves you time and anxiety. I always know where my keys are — in the same place, hanging up on the magnet on the refrigerator. So I don’t waste time, energy, and emotion searching for them each morning.
What does it cost you — in terms of time, emotion, and money — if you don’t have processes? The answer is a lot.
What simple processes can you create today that will bring you closer to your desired business or entrepreneurial outcomes?
Here are six simple steps to create a process in your business:
- Work backward — what do you want your outcome to be? Make it a specific number. It could be as simple as wanting to leave your house on time each workday. Or, I want to publish two articles per week.
- How many calls/emails/visits/posts/videos/articles do you need to make to get to the outcome? Specify a number.
- Set a specific time to work on IT daily — block it out on your calendar.
- Create templates so you’ve got your product/service information handy to pop into an email. If you’re creating a business development process, write scripts for your sales calls. That’s a process.
- Follow up — Mark dates and times to follow up in your calendar.
- Keep working your system, day after day.
Once you start following a writing or business development system, your sales may not quadruple as mine did, but I assure you they will increase substantially. You’ll experience less anxiety and more joy. And isn’t that what we all want?