Sales training systems and processes are like any other discipline. Too often we only think of sales training as something that we do in a classroom or an online course, BUT the reality is we are always training.
Musashi, was said to be the greatest Samurai General in history. Musashi once said that in times of crisis, stress and turmoil that you never raise to your positive expectations, you raise or fall to your level of training.
The same thing holds true in business. Our ability to perform successfully and consistently has a lot to do with our training, and in the case of the entrepreneur or business person it is often though our own self-directed learning that we acquire the majority of our critical success traits.
Before we go any further lets define what real training is. Real training, the kind that drives results in our lives and our organization is a participative process. When we think of training we think of the learning that is done while sitting listening to a lecture, watching a video, reading a book, or viewing a web site.
Effective training is really about taking those things we learn, and putting them into a daily routine and process where we constantly apply, fine tune, and develop what we learn. The real training starts when you leave the classroom.
There is a Chinese proverb that says: “To know and not to do is not to know.” It is in applying our training everyday that we truly begin to really learn, grow, and achieve. As an entrepreneur, executive, or sales person being focused on applying what we know is critical for our success consistently.
Constant focus of what is important also means constant sacrifice, often it is the sacrifice of doing things we really don’t want to do. That initial distaste for what is difficult to do often disappears as we develop the habit of applying these steps and seeing the outcomes from our new found discipline.
Know Your Vital Signs
The method I like to use to focus my daily activities to make sure that I am constantly focused on what counts is called the “Vital Signs” approach. These Vital Signs let us know when we are moving toward our goals in a healthy manner or if we’re lacking the Vital signs to sustain long-term growth.
The Vital signs are actually the cause of our success. Success is actually the effect of those actions. Tracking those steps allows us to look at our progress in a way that is measurable and can be improved upon and even repeated.
Daily I track and record these critical steps on a Vital Signs sheet, almost like a snap-shot of my day. I have broken them into two key areas: Personal and Business.
I set daily and weekly goals and measure the following things:
- Some of the weekly success vital signs for my personal life entail:
- 75 minutes of reading personal development and business books
- Not more than 60 minutes of reading or watching the news per week
- 100 % of commitments met?
- 80% of meals are “Healthy”
- Pray/Meditate/ two hours per week
- Spend 1 full day per week of quality time with my son.
- Train in Arnis for 30 minutes per day
- Give 10% of my earnings to charity and/or to help family
- Listen to one positive podcast or audio book per day
Some of the weekly success vital signs for my business entail:
- Attending four industry networking and sales training events per month
- Adding 15 new prospects per week to my database
- Writing 5 proposals per week to qualified sales training prospects
- Taking one VIP client to lunch every week
- 100 % of commitments met?
- Organizing my office for 2 hours per week
- Filing all receipts and expenses weekly
- Landing 2 new marquee clients per week
- Doing 5 sales presentations per week to qualified clients
- Meet with my coach every week to re-focus and plan
By tracking and recording my progress in each of these areas I am constantly aware of my total business and personal probability of success. If a successful person in your industry was to follow you around all day what story would your Vital Signs tell them? What kind of chance do you think you presently have of succeeding based upon your present application of your Vital Signs? Are you really applying all of your training on a daily basis? What are you neglecting to do consistently that would help you drastically improve your business or personal life?
One thing to note is that even though I have separated my business Vital Signs from the Personal Ones they actually are completely integrated in real life. I have been able to over time see the direct correlation between the quality time spent with my loved ones, the amount of training in Arnis, the quality of food I eat and the success of my business. When I’m healthy, working out, and in harmony with my loved ones my business is more profitable and I deliver a better service to my clients.
Keeping your house in order, maintaining balance or at least equilibrium between business and personal life helps both prosper. This approach is in a sense a loosely structured project, business, or sales management tool. It’s intention is to help you identify what gaps or holes are in your present processes.
At first this may seem over restricting, or it may look like it takes all of the fun out of being an entrepreneur. In martial arts true masters have practiced their basic steps and routines or Katas thousands of times. They practice, train, re-train, and adapt their Katas to different circumstances constantly until their Kata becomes part of who they are.
When attacked these masters seem to respond instantaneously, without forethought, in a very creative and flexible way. The truth is that this is the highest level of structure, the ability to respond and fluidly adjust your response to any attack instantaneously. By having a set of “best of business practices” that you diligently apply, track and reinforce, you develop winning habits and a solid foundation. Great leaders are defined by the magnitude of the challenge or task they face and how well they handle that challenge.
By constantly focusing on the critical steps for success by using the Vital Signs approach you begin to form an incredible understanding of what really contributes to your business success. When faced with a difficult decision this reinforced knowingness will help you make quick and accurate decisions.
When faced with a business challenge, a set back or loss, once again the presence of a true knowingness about your Vital Signs for success will allow you to focus on the basics, and the core Vital Signs that will help you regain momentum and work through the hard times.
If in crisis the warrior always falls to their level of training, then in business the entrepreneur or business person will always fall to their core understanding of what is important and what works.
This awareness is created by the constant application of the Vital Signs until they become part of us and our entrepreneurial path.
If the training and reinforcement hasn’t occurred then often we default to survival mode, where we’re highly emotionally and lack cognitive effectiveness. In crisis people with lack of training and knowingness generate a lot of anxiety and tend to reduce their creative capacity and awareness because of mental and physical stress.
When times are good and there is little stress in our life discipline can seem like something that isn’t such a necessity. Yet in times of crisis you will be grateful that you used the good times to reinforce and build a success ritual. The small daily efforts we make to constantly improve our success habits pay off in many ways. Preparedness and awareness are critical when opportunity arises. Opportunity only becomes profitable when it’s embraced by a business person with the discipline and skill set to execute.