Has your income stalled in the last few years? Do you have a proven plan for ensuring that your sales growth will be predictable and repeatable for years to come? I do…and I’m going to share it with you today.
There are 3 parts in this proven plan. By the way, this guide doubles as a great “how-to” if you’d ever like to get into old time pioneer gold mining….so if you get nothing else out of this post…there’s that.
Your sales career is your own little gold rush that you get to conduct every day. In order to make the most of your time in both gold mining and sales, there are 3 key activities that MUST happen. In sales we have tons of people faithfully performing activity 1 and 2….very few understand the power of the 3rd.
1.) Prospect! /ahem…a gold mining term.
Look for new business (gold mines) every day. Make cold calls, ask for referrals, etc. Get this done. Do NOT discount the power of cold calling. Anyone that tells you that B2B cold calling is dead is absolutely wrong. Whats the best way to start new relationships? Go find new people! …but I digress. This is not a cold calling article. Prospecting is simply looking for the gold mines. If you’re smart enough to be reading this blog….I’m going to assume you have this one covered.
2.) Excavate the mine. Time to Dig. Get in there!
So you’ve done a good job on the prospecting and you’ve found some great places to mine gold. Visit your accounts and prospects on a regular basis, WITH something of value. You can’t walk in and mine gold with just a flyer…or worse…nothing.
YOU NEED A PICKAXE TO MINE GOLD. Make sure you’re taking your pickaxe (something of value) on these calls/digging expeditions. A miner wouldn’t show up to work without his pickaxe would he? Why should you?
Once you’ve established some decent gold mines….go back to them often. Keep digging. There is almost always more gold hidden in there. The greatest news? A customer is SO much better than a gold mine. A gold mine will eventually run out, whereas a thriving customer can give you gold for years to come, and if their business expands, you can get even more gold! Have you ever heard of a gold mine doubling or tripling in size over a 5 year period? Have you ever heard of a gold mine spontaneously developing 5 new mining locations because it landed a new contract? Loyal clients are much better than gold mines.
3.) REFINE YOUR GOLD.
It’s official: No one wants crap gold. In order to make fine jewelry, electronic components, or anything else we use gold for….we need the gold to be PURE before we start to develop it into its final form.
Your account base probably has some crap gold in it. It might even have a lot of crap gold in there. :/ Do you ever feel like you have to work harder and harder to make less and less? If so, you’re probably holding onto some crap gold. Many salespeople hold onto their poor quality gold, for a number of reasons.
The 3 main reasons are:
- To give up some of their poorly producing customers makes them feel like they would make less money. Its counterintuitive to think they could make more by giving up some accounts. BUT this only makes sense once you realize….they don’t want to PROSPECT! Ahahahaha! Thank God for these people. They make this profession pay well. They don’t have the time or desire to bother you in your accounts 🙂
- They’re afraid they don’t have the skills to prospect.
- They’re too lazy to go prospect. “All the good mines are taken.”
So you combine their lack of new prospecting with the fact that gold is laborious to collect. You can only handle so many mines. Some mines produce better quantity and quality gold than others. In a huge stroke of luck for me in writing this article….its the SAME with your accounts!
The process of refining gold is relatively straightforward. The cliff’s notes version is you put the raw gold ore in a container called a crucible, heat the ore until it melts into molten liquid metal. When its liquid, you skim off the impurities, thereby making the gold more pure. This gets all the crap out of the ore…the trace minerals, the dirt, and whatnot. Can’t have any whatnot in your gold.
The key to your sustained growth in sales is the SAME.
At some regular interval (quarterly is good), you need to refine the account/prospect base. You need to take a look at the entire pot of gold, both customers and prospects. Light up the fire of your critical eye and decide if each opportunity you’re pursuing is worth it. GET RID of the stuff that is not paying you what you were hoping it would, or the stuff that you can’t seem to get going no matter how long you work it. At some point you have to learn to let go and move on.
Many salespeople find this to be a difficult process. I know I did. Get rid of a paying customer? That hurts! However, I got to experience what happened as a result. I never earned less gold. I only earned more gold…consistently! Every quarter my income was growing, in spite of the fact that I would shed 5-10 accounts. If I didn’t live through it I almost wouldn’t believe it. So why did it work? The account base, my pot of gold if you will, was being refined. The accounts that weren’t performing up to my standards were going away and it freed up time to PROSPECT for new accounts/mines. I would open 10-15 new accounts and then I would drop my poorest performing 5-10. The account base was becoming more pure, more valuable, with each passing quarter.
Looking back, I would estimate I was probably giving up about 5% of my “potential income” each quarter when we refined out the “crap gold”….but I was gaining 20% more time. Time is the most valuable resource each of us has. A trade of 20% more time for 5% of your income is the deal of the century. Imagine if you made that deal every quarter….for years. You could end up with some pretty serious income…yessir.
If you’d like to become a millionaire you put all that “found” time back into activity #1 above. You see its not really “free” time if you’ve already budgeted it into your working hours. Its time you can spend being more productive….in a much better gold mine.