In sales, often your success in any given year depends upon your ability to get off to a fast start. Just like in the 100m dash, if your competition beats you out of the starting blocks, the chances of you catching them by the finish, diminish by the second.
"Close early, close often" are the words one of my favorite sales managers used to use to motivate me early in the year. I can still remember all those years ago when a few other sales reps and I were in the office between Christmas and New Years trying to bring those last deals across the line before year end. There he was too. Encouraging us at times, but most of the time he was spending polishing off his plans for us. For the next year. The first working day of every year we had a sales meeting with all the reps, nation wide, in one large conference room. By 9:30am we had celebrated the successes from the previous year, by break at 10:30am we had our new territory assignments and by noon everyone had their new contracts in hand. The signature line just waiting for us to get sign and get started.
Only several years and several positions later, have I grown to really appreciate all that work and sweat equity he put into our careers. Simply by taking it upon himself to make sure everything was ready for us to get out of the blocks quickly the following year, he showed us he cared. He was committed to our success.
In high level athletic competition, years of coaching time can go into one Olympian's eleven second race. If you are a sales manager or senior sales executive, how much work did you put into ensuring that your reps got out of the blocks quickly this year? How much planning and effort did you put into their 2013 run? A race that lasts 364 days 23 hours 59 minutes and 48 seconds longer than the average 100m dash.
Have you been helping them run better? Or have you been putting painful hurdles in their way?
Something to think about.