I'm currently reading Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, a best-selling business book looking at change and how people make decisions. I'm enjoying this book because it provides a new framework to consider and an easy way to look at the issues related to change. And it reinforces one of the key concepts we teach our clients as we work with them to implement change across their sales organization - keep it simple.
The Heath brothers explain how too many choices can cause analysis paralysis. They also say that what looks like resistance is often just a lack of clarity. In our experience working with sales organizations, a relentless "keep it simple" philosophy dramatically improves focus and drives awesome results. Here are a few specific (and simple) examples:
•As a sales person, give your prospect a clear and concise proposal. Recommend your best solution and let them say yes or no. What happens when you bombard your prospects with choices and options? They freeze and disappear.
•As a sales manager, give your sales people clear direction. Identify the daily behaviors that will drive results and focus relentlessly on those activities. Hold them accountable to keep them focused. What happens when you constantly change direction, measure different things, or ask them to pursue opportunities unrelated to your strategy? They freeze and get frustrated.
• As a President, CEO or Business Owner you are ultimately responsible for revenue growth. Align and focus your entire organization around a few key concepts and priorities (think 3-5 per quarter at most) and then get out of their way. What happens when you have too many "Number One Priorities" for your team to pursue? They wander off track doing what they think is most important and your company stalls.
• As an employee anywhere in the company, drive productivity by simplifying your day. Focus your daily activities by following this simple three-step process for a massively productive day:
1) Identify the 5-6 top priorities for your day. Ask yourself what needs to happen to make it a truly excellent day that will make you feel great when you leave to go home.
2) Once you have your list, identify how long you need to spend on each accomplishment on the list. Write down the time required in terms of minutes (e.g. 30 minutes, 50 minutes, 90 minutes, etc.). If the total time adds up to more than six (6) hours, cut your list so you can allow some time for unexpected interruptions.
3) Schedule when you will do each task, building in time between accomplishments for interruptions, responding to e-mail, returning phone calls, checking with colleagues, etc.
These are all concepts we work with our clients on and the results can be remarkable. The Heath brothers take this concept much further in their excellent new book and I'm grateful I'll be able to use it as a way to reinforce the work we do with our clients. Keep it simple for your prospects, your sales team, your company and your day. What can you start doing today to "keep it simple?" What can you stop doing today to "keep it simple?" What will happen to your revenue velocity as you implement a "keep it simple" philosophy that improves your focus and clarity? Why not start right now?