Refreshed by an extra hour’s sleep from the “fall back” to Standard time, I shuffled into the kitchen, ready for Sunday breakfast, iPhone in hand. I shifted my focus from food cupboards to refrigerator and back again.
“What sounds good this morning?”
I looked at my iPhone. Concluding I would need a lot of maple syrup to chew and swallow the phone, I clicked it on and opened the MyFitnessPal app and looked at my progress for the week.
“Good on fiber, fats, and vitamins. Short on calcium and 60 grams short on protein,” I noted.
“Not a big gap… Greek Yogurt sounds good for breakfast and a four-ounce chicken breast sometime today should take care of that nicely,” I thought. Solution easily determined. Action and outcome closely connected. Feedback almost immediate. Close gaps every day and end the week on target.
But not so easy with longer term goals.
For example, blood cholesterol levels are heavily influenced by genetic inheritance, extraordinarily challenging to reduce through diet and exercise, and very slow to change.
I can track and restrict weekly cholesterol intake to, say, 400 milligrams and I have to “take it on faith” from others’ experiences that, if I stick with the diet and the exercise, my cholesterol levels will fall and the mix of HDL and LDL will shift. But there’s no immediate or clear cause-and-effect connection (like “eat 4 ounces of chicken, close the protein gap”).
So, I have an activity plan – what I eat, how much I exercise – and I track the activities (to help me stay on plan) ANTICIPATING that change will come through 6 – 24 months…. and there can be long periods of time when there’s no movement. So, ‘planned activities and tracking’ are all I have to guide me.
Those of us in long cycle (6 – 24 month) sales have the same challenge. We have written or “in mind” sales plans based on past experiences, data, and ‘gut feel.’ We commit to activity programs – who we’ll call on, why we’ll call on them, how frequently we’ll call on them, how many times we’ll touch which Centers of Influence, how many conferences or meetings we’ll attend, how many presentations we’ll make, and so on.
But there is no immediate cause and effect connection… and there can be long periods of time when there is no movement –people won’t talk to us, won’t respond to our phone calls or emails, won’t buy, won’t communicate, or won’t decide when they say they will.
So, at some level, we have to “take it on faith” that, if we track our activities and stick with our programs – touching COIs, sending clients and prospects ideas, showing up at conferences or meetings – we’ll connect with clients who seek what we’re selling and hit our goals.
‘Planned activities and tracking’ are all we have to guide us.
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