It seems that every time production gets more difficult, originators and their managers request training on how to increase their sales results. While it is reasonable to think that originators simply need to work harder to generate better results, this often isn’t enough to correct a sales slump. In my experience, the real solution is to work smarter. It is not so much about conducting more sales activities but performing the right sales activities that will create new referral sources and customers.
In my consulting practice, what I see repeatedly is that mediocre originators may work hard but they are spending time on the wrong things. Not only does this waste precious time but it instills false hope that performance will improve.
The mediocre originators tend to be great at pipeline management but poor in scaling their selling activities. Many of these originators are the first to say they can’t go to training to learn new ways of selling or they don’t have time to learn new technology that would help them become more effective. Frankly, they are stuck and yet they fail to commit to changing their sales performance. For originators who do not update and adapt their selling skills to changing marketplace conditions, a decline in production is inevitable.
Consider the example of an originator who would rather send handwritten notes to past customers versus outsourcing this activity to vendors who will send handwritten notes on your behalf. While writing personal notes is definitely a good thing, how scalable is it if an originator is doing it themselves? When the originator becomes too busy, will he or she still send handwritten notes? Probably not. Sure, they might do it once in a while but not consistently enough to really matter and change their sales results.
Many sales managers recommend that originators block time to become more efficient but they often fail to tell producers what they should be doing during the time block. Time-blocking is a great strategy but setting aside time on the wrong activities won’t change sales results. Managers and originators must understand what sales activities matter most before implementing time-blocking in a way that will improve production.
When conducting sales audits in the field, I find that originators spend their time on what is important to them not necessarily on the activities that will boost results. Mediocre originators will often blame lack of production on factors such as their lender’s pricing or rising interest rates instead of inability to use their selling time well. While they can’t control external factors such as pricing or interest rates, they can control their own actions and how they spend their day.
Purposeful time management can make all the difference. Originators who proactively dedicate time to daily sales activities that cultivate new referral sources and customers will always outperform sales professionals who spend their time reacting to the day’s problems and demands.