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A Fluent Moment – Q1/2013 Success Begins with a Plan

Did you know…

Many people are just busy being busy and waste time by mistaking activity for productivity.

In today’s business world everyone is asked to do more in less time and with fewer resources. This makes it much easier to mistake activity for productivity. We spend most of our days doing the tasks that are in front of us, going from one task to the next and feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish our goals. Sure we are busy, but are we productive?

Productivity is the result that comes from planned activities. We are still busy but by planning we focus only the most important activities that will get us to our goals. By simply focusing on only the important steps it will take to accomplish a goal, we eliminate time-wasting tasks and more than double our chances of success. Bottom line the degree of quality productivity versus total activity will mean the difference between profitability and merely sustaining in today’s business world.

So STOP doing whatever is in front of you and START doing the things that will move you toward your goals.

Simple steps to move from activity to productivity:

1. Identify what end-result you want?

2. What specific actions do you need to do to get you to the end-result?

3. Prioritize the actions that need to be taken.

4. Stay organized and stick to the plan.

5. Adjust plan as needed and repeat until complete.

Message from an
AFV Partner

We are all busy. The question that we have to ask ourselves, however, is; are we productive? Being busy does not mean that we are productive and this is the single biggest problem that we as salespeople face. The constant fight between being reactive versus proactive is how we betray ourselves everyday of our selling life. Along with our customer relationships, TIME is the most valuable asset that we have. Why then do we waste so much of it? We race compulsively to get more stuff done in less time, but seldom stop to think about what is most important and how we can do it most efficiently. For instance, while writing this article I answered three phone calls that disrupted my thought process and re-directed my time. Instead of focusing on one important task, I allowed myself to be distracted and this article took about four times as long as it should have to write. Let’s stop the madness! Take control of your day by planning, prioritizing and executing. Fight the evil forces that show themselves as procrastination, indecision and excuses for why we cannot perform better. We are the Rulers of our time and the Masters of our destiny. Let’s act like it.

Walter Santiago

Walter Santiago
Managing Partner
A Fluent Vision, L.L.C.

Success begins with a plan

What are your goals?

Do you know what you want or need to accomplish in the next week, month or year? 

Do you know what steps you need to take to get there? 

There are no short cuts when it comes to success – you have to think things through and carefully map out a plan of action. Since the number of hours in the day is fixed – what we do with those hours is critical. Today’s successful sales professional knows how to allocate their time and work efficiently to yield the highest returns.

Success begins with having a plan. Having a Business Plan allows us to set the terms, conditions and metrics for how we will succeed. The plan states our desired goals and the actions needed to achieve them. It does not need to be complicated, nor does it have to take a lot of time. It includes information like — what are your goals: quota, income, and number of new accounts? Do you have other, more personal goals like working a four-day week, taking a longer vacation than usual? Whatever your target, be practical. A good plan is built on a realistic, but challenging foundation.

As you develop your plan make sure to identify resources that might support your efforts. Many Sales Reps do not utilize their resources efficiently. Whether it is using inside sales staff more efficiently (or at all), scheduling and controlling the amount of time used for cold calling, networking or other opportunity mining – each choice we make has an impact on our success. The trick is to know what percentage of our time each activity should take. Proper allocation of our time helps to ensure our success.

Managing time becomes particularly essential as we proceed in the sales cycle. Having a plan is not enough—plans require execution. Remember the old adage “plan your work, work your plan”. Planning and execution go together. One without the other is a waste of time. Typically people who don’t understand the relationship between a plan and its execution will tell you planning is useless. Don’t believe it!  So if you haven’t already started planning – get moving now!

Using an established process is the best way to execute a plan. Employing a proven, consistent sales methodology is a great way of doing this because it helps you stay focused on your primary purpose – SALES.

The Spheres of Influence

There are a number of factors that determine how well we will manage our time. These fall in what we call the “Sphere of Influence.” Key elements of the sphere include:

Internal Fortitude: Are we willing to do what it will take to actualize our goals? It’s one thing to have a vision and goals, to create a plan – it is another thing entirely to actually execute it. Internal fortitude is the personal quality that pushes us to action.

Resources: Who can help us succeed? Sales staff, engineers, manufacturers, marketing department? Whoever they are we need to invest in them so that they will be invested in our success.

Outside Forces: The wisest sales executives recognize what they can’t impact and spend little time there. Move quickly to the areas we can control.

Education: How well do we know our industry, our customer’s business? These are the areas in which we can separate ourselves from the masses. Time spent learning about our industry, market trends and directions is time well spent.

Quality of Life: Do we love what we do? If we don’t enjoy our work our ability to reach our goals will be limited.

Consultative Corner

John C. Maxwell, a national expert on leadership, identifies a lack of changing our thinking as one reason why we may not achieve our goals. To change our thinking is no easy task. However, if we do, the payoff can be enormous. We feel crunched for time and pulled in multiple directions—flying by the seat of our pants sometimes seems the best we can do. For those of us who are intuitive, this can work but leaves too much up for grabs. We have to make the shift to think ahead, identify our goals, create a plan, and then act. By paying attention we will notice which strategies work best for us and which are a waste of time. We will focus our efforts on the tasks that really matter. Our customers will appreciate our focus and will reward us accordingly. You have not planned well if you just set a goal, you have to achieve the goal.

Dictionary Term

Productivity: A measure of the efficiency of a person, mechanism, factory, system, etc., in converting input into useful output.

Productivity is computed by dividing average output per period by the total costs incurred or resources (capital, energy, material, personnel) consumed in that period. Productivity is a critical determinant of cost efficiency. 


A Fluent Vision

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