Working the Storm (Issue 449)

In which we discuss the routines of managing our time and territories. Shoveling snow is my favorite exercise. OK, you think I'm a raving lunatic. You wouldn't be the first to have this thought (at least about my approach to winter storms, and the line forms to the left, behind my children and wife).

I love working a day-time weekend winter storm. I woke up Sunday morning to a foot of drifting snow, wind swirling, with eight hours of storm still coming. Winter Sundays don’t come any better or more beautiful than this.

First job: Clear the over-night accumulation. First to the deck, heaving the snow over the railing. Then to the front steps and walk. Finally, to the driveway. During the day, as the storm blows on, I return to the deck and the path hourly to clear them, keeping the snow accumulation to an inch (or three, at the rate the snow is falling today).

I love feeling the wind on my face, the snow on my nose, and the sound of wind in the trees. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love the regularity of the work, the steady focus, managing the angle and speed of the shovel blade, the depth of the bite, the follow through on the toss… once, twice, fifty, one hundred times. Slow and steady, maintaining an even strain.

This – the initial clearing, the steady repetitive focus – is the essence of effective sales territory management. From the snow we learn to ask:

  • In what areas of our territories or portfolios do we need to invest energy in an “initial cleaning” to discover what’s there and clear a path for further exploration?
  • How will we set our “timers” to remind us to return, again and again, to pay attention to our accounts?
    • How frequently will we return to pay attention to our best accounts, circling back once a quarter, once a month, or once a whatever?
    • With which accounts do we need to set new, routine touches, either more or less frequent?
    • Which accounts do we need to take out of the rotation?
  • To what sources will we look for fresh ideas and insights to bring to our clients and prospects?

The important key is steady focus and repeating cycles, adjusting the frequency as conditions change.

One of the risks to “leaving everything until the storm has blown out” is that the accumulated weight and volume of snow is too much to handle; back injuries, exhaustion, and domestic squabbles are frequently the consequences.

A new year’s wish for us all. May we find the peace and presence to keep working our decks and walks, one hour, one day, one week, one month at a time so that we finish the upcoming year meeting or exceeding our sales goals and enjoying good health.

Happy New Year!

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