Twenty-six weeks is a lot of time. That number multiplied by five working days minus six holidays gives you one hundred and twenty-four working days. That’s enough time to rack up a tremendous amount of accomplishments. The variable is what you decide to do with the time you have available to you.
Some are going to decide their year is shot by this point because of the crisis. Instead of using the available time to try to reach their goals, they’re going to use the many excuses available to them to settle for whatever they can eke out without having to put forth any increased effort. Others are not going to settle, seeking instead to make their story a comeback story instead of writing off a year due to a difficult first half.
There is never a reason to write off a year when there is an entire half-year remaining. That’s like starting the second half of a football game receiving the ball and giving up because you are already down two touchdowns. You have to play all four quarters, even if you were punished in the first half.
When you are behind, you need to manage the clock. Sadly, there is no way to manage time. All you can control is what you do between the ticks that mark off minutes, hours, and days. While it is incredibly difficult to accelerate a long sales cycle deal, some strategies can help you recover part of what you lost in the first half of the year.
The most important outcome you need to create to speed up the acquisition of new clients and new opportunities is to create a new opportunity. While velocity is an important concept in meeting your numbers, there is no way to speed up a deal that doesn’t yet exist. While many focus on velocity, they ignore that the most important factor in the time it takes to win a deal is the date you create the opportunity. Most put too much faith in sales velocity and win rate, refusing to recognize the value of prospecting and opportunity creation as it pertains to the time it takes to close a deal successfully.
Assume a ninety-day deal cycle. What you do in the first thirty of your one hundred and twenty-four working days is crucial. The opportunities you create in that period provide you with deals to close within the two quarters remaining. A ninety-day sales cycle means that closing some deals takes more time—but others take less.
For a host of reasons, most people will avoid doubling or tripling their prospecting efforts to put up the best numbers possible, accepting something less than they are capable of, depriving their company of the sales activity they need, and depriving themselves and their families of the revenue they might have made had they put forth the effort.
So much of B2B sales success is a mindset, much more than you might imagine, even though we would want it to be otherwise, making it easier for more salespeople to succeed. This is no different than the intangibles and character traits that allow people to dominate in other endeavors. As far as I have been able to discern in a lifetime of studying success traits, the one that seems universal is hunger. The people who really want what they want and are willing to do what it takes to have it, succeed because they are driven (an idea that suggests some intrinsic motivation rules them, something they may not recognize themselves, but a trait that is easily seen by others).
The power of intrinsic motivations fuels their actions and ensures they persist with a dogged persistence until they achieve their desired goal. You may have to do some work to allow your intrinsic motivation to take hold of you. Still, in the meantime, you put forth a determined effort to make the back half of this year so much better than the first half of this year that you shock yourself—and anyone else who is paying attention.
There are likely more people who have given up and given in, believing that there is now no possible way to succeed in reaching their goals. These are the same people who spend their time reading the headlines, chatting about all that is wrong with the world around the now virtual water cooler, allowing their future to be dominated by a fear and loathing mindset. This is the surest way to end up disempowered and disappointed.
The Next Twenty-Six Weeks
The next twenty-six weeks is for those who love a good fight. The time remaining belongs to those who root for the underdog, those who dare to stand up, step up, and address the challenge in front of them, no matter how big, no matter how daunting, and no matter the outcome.
Recommit to your goals. Write them down every morning when you wake up. Write them again before you go to sleep. Once your feet hit the floor, start your day in some way that empowers you, and then jump on it with two feet. At best, you reach your goals, and at worst, you put up a much better performance than you would if you hadn’t put forth the effort.
Now is the time to do good work. Go do it.
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