Learn to micromanage yourself

Start with an attitude/behavior journal


Early in my selling career, I enjoyed the luxury of being micromanaged. “Luxury!? Is this guy crazy? Who in their right mind finds any enjoyment or luxury in being micro-managed?”

I’ll explain, but first a few simple questions:

• How many of you like to make cold calls?

 • How many of you will avoid making sales calls if given the chance to do something else?

 • How effective can cold calling be? How can you make cold calling produce great results for your business?

In 1998, I worked in a call center for a turnaround management consulting firm. My primary function was cold-calling business owners of privately held companies. Everyone in the call center had to make 100 cold calls per day. As uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, as this was, it quickly became a daily habit. I developed a mindset to put my cold-calling duties on auto-pilot.

Making the calls became an accepted prerequisite of my job. The fact that I didn’t have a choice about making the calls allowed me to focus on my approach and technique, ultimately improving my selling skills. All I had to do was show up and my ratios gradually improved. Over time, these ratios skyrocketed. It took some micromanaging of my behaviors from superiors before the good habits took hold to where I enjoyed success in my sales career.

As my ratios improved, I noticed that my attitude and the way I was feeling about myself also improved. As I felt better about my work and sustained the good behaviors, I was able to predict my success and income just by showing up and engaging the behaviors. This can work for any selling professional.

A few years later, I found myself in a sales position where there was little micromanagement. No one was there telling me I had to make the calls, and before I realized it, my call volume began to dwindle. Soon after, I realized that I had to micromanage myself.

One of the most powerful tools you can implement in your sales career is an attitude/behavior journal:

  • Attitude = How you feel about yourself, your company and your market.
  • Behavior = The actions you engage in during your selling day.

Journaling will force you to engage in the behaviors necessary to be successful. However, you will need to make a commitment to yourself by following your own instructions. It’s simple, and the results are life-changing. The practice only takes two to three minutes in the morning and evening. Here’s a basic example:

In the morning, write down one attitude goal: “I am an unstoppable selling machine!” Write down one behavior goal: “I am making 15 outbound calls today.”

Notice that these goals are stated in the present tense – as if to make the assumption that they are currently happening. This creates a magnetic pull in your subconscious mind, and over time, the behaviors become a natural part of your day.

In the evening, you assess your performance. “How was my attitude? After that brief AM setback, I roared back into high gear this afternoon!”

“Did I do the behaviors? Not only that, I got in two extra calls and made an appointment on the last one!”

Our example has a positive outcome, but there will be days when you fall short of your behavior goals. It’s OK to feel a little guilt when you know you could have/should have done better with conscious effort. Just let it turn to positive energy as you set the next day’s goals. Then, all you need to do is show up, and as the good habits kick in, your energy will increase as you realize that doing enough of certain behaviors is predictive of future sales results.

This is often the turning point at which the true sales professional emerges. When salespeople learn to micromanage themselves, their career potential becomes limitless and their manager’s job is far less onerous, freeing up valuable executive time.

Toby Payne, inside sales trainer and consultant at Sandler Training-Manchester, can be reached at 603-232-1520 or tpayne@sandler.com.

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