And by "shit," I mean you get hit with some mystical, magical, bullshittery of a number handed down from the geniuses on high in the ivory tower with the big watches, the $3,000 office chairs, and the executive assistants.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's discuss exactly what you can do about it, because whining about it on Reddit from your anonymous profile sure won't help.
Good. Let's dive in.
Break It Down (Don't Break Down!)
Having a $500k or $1 million or $10 million number to hit in a year is both scary and no big deal.
It's scary because it's a big number.
It's no big deal because it's too far off into the future, so you're tempted to think,...
Ahhh, I'll figure something out. Pass the whiskey!"
While a little sip of a fine whisk(e)y is always appreciated, those attitudes are not.
Here's how you break down this hot potato from the potentates on high.
For simplification purposes, let's say your quota is $1.2 million, which is $100,000 per month for the year.
That means you need to close $25,000 in new business every week. (Yeah, yeah. I know there are 4.33 weeks in a month, but when you approach your quota with a 12-week quarter mindset—or even a 12-Week Year—, you'll give yourself a margin of error and/or a week's vacation each quarter, so don't be difficult.)
If each new deal averages $12,500, you need to be closing two deals per week to stay on track, which leads us to the next step...
Keep Breaking It Down Because Sales Are Lagging Indicators
Like having a weight loss goal, reaching a sales goal is a lagging indicator.
When you step on that scale 30 or 60 or 90 days after you begin your weight loss journey, it will reflect every cookie you didn't eat, every beer you didn't drink, every workout you didn't skip...and vice versa.
In that way, your sales numbers are also a lagging indicator.
It reflects every email you sent, every call you made, every voicemail you left, every tradeshow you attended, every postcard you mailed, every new lead you put into your CRM, every proposal you sent, every referral you received, every testimonial you received, every upsell you made, every repeat sale you made, and every cross-sell you made.
Having a B.H.A.G. is fine, but you will only reach that B.H.A.G. by intentionally spending every minute of every day. Otherwise, you're just dreaming.
Once you have your weekly sales number, you need to figure out your activity numbers.
Use the calculator above to figure out your activities for every:
Yes: 15-minute intervals.
Ahhh, yeah, Wes, ahhh, that's a no for me, Dawg. I ain't making or following no stinkin' 15-minute activity plan."
Stay with me for a minute, Bro. (I say "Bro" because women are usually more curious, patient, and courteous, so they're less likely to say no already. Women are also more detail-oriented and better planners. But I digress.)
Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments." ~Rose Kennedy.
How you spend every moment, every 15 minutes, every hour is how you'll spend your day, your week, and your life.
How you spend every moment literally affects how easily you'll hit—or how big you'll miss—your sales quota.
All of the sports greats have pre-game and in-game routines.
All of the business greats have daily and negotiation routines.
All of the great warriors have training and engagement routines.
Even creative types such as writers, poets, and painters have routines to get into the flow.
You are no better and no different.
In fact, because you are in the realm of persuasion, negotiation, and connection, you need these routines more than all of the above combined!
But don't fret, because it's easier than it sounds when you...
Batch Your Efforts
Unless you live in a 500-year-old Italian villa, you don't visit 5-10 stores to get your groceries each day.
You make a list, then hit Costco or the Piggly Wiggly and get three to ten days' worth of groceries at once.
You do the same with your sales efforts.
When I say track your time in 15-minute intervals, it doesn't mean to have 40 different line items for a 10-hour day.
It means you should block off 60-90 minutes on your calendar for things such as:
- Prospecting (two to 5 blocks per day, depending on your career, experience, industry, etc.)
- Client meetings, i.e., demos, presentations, etc.
- Paperwork, i.e., updating the CRM, making travel plans, expenses, etc.
- Internal meetings (limit these as much as possible)
- Lunch and other breaks, including exercise, are all necessary for your sanity, quality of life, and effectiveness.
Let's say you have a 90-minute block for prospecting. You have it color-coded on your calendar, which you have printed out for the week and lying on your desk.
Set a 15-minute timer on your watch, phone, and/or desktop so you are always nudged to be present, to take note of the current time, to take an honest assessment of how you spent the last 15 minutes, and to take note of how quickly time passes.
Every 15 minutes, put a check or dash or something on your calendar indicating you completed that interval inside the larger block.
When you're prospecting, don't work on your expenses.
When you're working on updating your CRM, don't be working on a client proposal.
Focus. Plan. Execute. Grow.
Compress Your Timeframes
This is closely related to batching your efforts and following the 12-Week Year, but it's different.
The concept is to become a dictatorial lunatic with OCD and ADHD when it comes to guarding your time and being efficient with your time.
It means living an asynchronous life when possible, i.e.,
- Doing your grocery shopping at 5 am or 10 pm to avoid crowds.
- Finding a gym near your office and commuting at 5 am to get your workout in so you don't waste time in traffic.
- Going to lunch early or late to avoid waiting in long lines.
- Bringing your lunch so you can read or study during your lunch hour.
Being efficient means,
- Making friendly, "catching-up" calls as you drive.
- Listening to podcasts or books as you drive.
- Hiring a VA to do mundane things for you, such as data entry, social media posting, booking travel, doing your expenses, etc.
- Leveraging text replacement tools such as TextExpander and native technology on your Apple devices to quickly share frequently used words, phrases, and even entire paragraphs with a few short keystrokes such as:
- Booking links
- Affiliate links
Speaking of booking links, shorten your default meetings to 15 minutes.
If someone needs more time, have a 25-minute option.
If that's not enough, have a 50 or 55-minute option.
Meetings expand to fill the time allotted. It's called Parkinson's Law. So get ahead of everyone's tendency to waste your time by giving them less of your time, even prospects.
Move With Urgency
When you start living and moving asynchronously and compress your timeframes, you'll start moving with urgency...probably.
Do it intentionally.
Most people are moving through life like zombies.
They are victims.
They are willfully ignorant and blind.
They meander around the gym.
They meander around the office.
They think nothing of showing up late and unprepared for meetings with staff, prospects, and customers.
Everyone will get to their tasks "eventually," but they'll immediately offer you an excuse as to why they are behind.
They'll ask you, "Hey, what's the rush?"
Let them know that time kills deals.
Time kills deals."
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right and right away.
Isn't it interesting how no one ever seems to have time to do the job right, but they always have the time to do it twice?
That being said, just because something is worth doing and needs to be done, it doesn't have to be done by you, which brings us to the next point...
Leverage Your Team
"But Wes, I don't have a team. I'm a W2 salesperson."
If you're employed at a company, you have a team.
There are people in accounting and marketing and operations and HR and even other salespeople you can befriend.
Other salespeople can share their tips and tricks and secrets for growing at your company.
They can tell you the ins and outs of the company, the industry, and the offering.
They can tell you the "secret" to getting your ideal prospects on the phone. (Old salespeople can also teach you bad habits, so be careful who you take advice from.)
Accounting can tell you how to get expenses approved faster and where the loopholes are for travel, meals, and entertainment. (Trust me. Those are huge!!)
Marketing can shift funds or focus to your territory. They can authorize a direct mail campaign or a trade show or more SDR effort in your region.
Operations can get you more demo gear or share the real roadmap with you or let you know the key things they need to see in the CRM to make their lives easier, which will build up favors you can ask for later.
HR could authorize a new assistant for you or a shared assistant for you and another rep or another SDR.
Befriend the receptionist, the boss's assistant, and the BDRs/SDRs.
The receptionist has a lot of info as to the goings on at your company, and while gossip is a distraction, news, and facts could help you, so stay in the know.
Executive assistants can give you the inside scoop on trends at the company, where to focus, how to avoid the boss's wrath, and how to stay on his good side.
If you are fortunate enough to have BDRs/SDRs, be nice to them. They are like the offensive line to your quarterback.
You want them motivated and hustling for you.
The reality is you have the time, ability, and necessity to sell as much inside your organization as outside. Do this well, and you're well on your way to hitting your quota.
Since at least 2019, I've been on a "do what doesn't scale" kick, i.e., people will forget what you said but never how you made them feel, and taking 23 seconds to send a quick video chat to someone will have the same impact as one email to 1,000 cold names.
So I'm a big fan of making the effort to make people feel special with a real call, a signed card or book, a personal video message, etc.
That being said, technology is your friend in sales, including your CRM.
"But Wes, our CRM sucks. It's just Big Brother. We have a CRM and a quoting tool and an email tool and our ticketing system doesn't talk to any of them. My boss expects everything to be in it on the time, all the time. Technology sucks."
I hear ya. But guess what? It ain't going away. And how's your attitude serving you?
In 1998 I started selling mobile homes in Mobile, AL.
I had two sons less than a year apart, and I was on unemployment when my second was born. I started selling trailers at Oakwood the next week.
The rule was we'd get at least 50% commission on any prospect we entered into the company database and 0% commission if they weren't in the system, even if we worked them but they came in to buy on a day we were off.
I entered every name, and I sold 52 trailers and made exactly $100,000 in my first 12 months.
When I got into the tech space in the summer of 2000, I bought my own Blackberry and convinced the IT department to BCC my Verizon email address so I could get my emails on the road. (See what I mean about befriending everyone in your company!)
I made well over $100,000 that year, and my bonus for the year, paid in January 2001, was $55,000.
In 2004 I was with a new tech company that switched to Salesforce a few months after I joined.
I learned how to create templates and send my own mass emails to my list.
In 2007, right after I started The Sales Whisperer®, I landed a training contract with Dell to help them train all 3,000 North American sales reps for $635,000.
In 2008 I became certified with Keap, and in 2014 I became certified in HubSpot and Ontraport.
I've had $30,000 and $40,000 and $50,000 months and residuals of $15,000 per month, all from tech.
I've written two books from home on my MacBooks.
I've recorded nearly 700 podcasts from home on my iMac.
Now I'm using AI to help me research and brainstorm content creation for both myself and my clients.
I send video emails to new prospects and customers.
Tech is here to stay.
Embrace it to be found, to connect, and to close more business, and you will never struggle to hit your quota.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.