Clearing a Path

It happens to the best of us. Actually, it happens even more to the best of us. Clutter. We take on more than one person can reasonably be expected to process, then we wonder why our minds are cluttered, our desks are cluttered, our sales process is cluttered, our PDA’s are cluttered. It’s human nature, and it takes focus and active attention to remove it.
If you take the time on some regular interval (quarterly? Monthly? Weekly?) to clear the clutter away, you will be better able to see the paths towards the goals that were previously hidden under that clutter. Practice active visualization when you’re clearing clutter; imagine all the things you need to accomplish as goals, and each goal has a path to it. Is the path clear of obstructions? What do you need to take care of in order to make it clear? Here are some strategies that have worked for me;

  • Cut to the chase- stop selling your clients and start closing them. Practice the habit of asking, “What do we need to do to get this deal signed?” Address directly any qualms or questions the client has, and then ask the question again. When you find yourself working around your sale, stop. Regroup. Refocus on the most direct path to your goal.
  • Know your milestones- draw a picture of your sales cycle…no seriously, make a drawing. It doesn’t have to be the one in the company procedural documents, it has to be one that makes sense in your mind. Don’t worry, nobody has to see it but you. Mark the various milestones in your cycle, then study them. Now ask yourself; do you tend to get out of sequence or skip milestones? If so, does that help you reach your goal more efficiently or is it clutter on your path? Mark down where each of your current clients and hot prospects are on your cycle. Create a path in your mind for moving each of them forward to the next milestone. Keep this drawing with you and update the milestone status of each client and prospect on that drawing weekly. This will be a constant visual queue of what’s moving forward and a reminder of what requires more attention because it isn’t moving forward.
  • Unclutter- clean off the top of your desk, clean out your drawers, clean out your briefcase, clean out your files. Create 3 boxes on your desk; an inbox, an outbox and a “DO IT” box. I’ve had a ‘DO IT’ box for years, and people always laugh at it…then sneak off and make one of their own. Make sure ‘DO IT’ is on top- allow yourself to have no more than 5 items in that box at any given time- those are your action items. Touch those papers every day and if anything has been in that box for more than a week either toss it or act on it, but don’t let it linger.
  • Create visual targets- write a small, tight list of target prospects and high revenue clients. Keep that list visible so that you are constantly reminded of your goals and are always working on communicating with that list of people.
  • Get reacquainted with your resources- have their been personnel shifts within your company in areas that provide support or delivery for the product you’re selling? Do you know the new people in those positions? Do you have the tools and resources you need to make the deal? Do you have current information on projected delivery cycles for your product? Clear the path between you and your company’s operations and service groups, and make a concerted effort to keep that communication channel open.