How a focus on skills delivers goals
Every WHAT needs a HOW
Whether you succeed in achieving your goals. Whether you successfully pivot your business, or whether you struggle to keep things on track – your personal impact upon WHAT your business achieves is defined by HOW you go about it.
Are your goals SMART?
Just like business owners; goals, targets and objectives come in many shapes and sizes.
That they are ‘SMART’ should be a given, if they are to offer any substance beyond being a pipedream. Are they Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound?
Are they written down and front of your mind for at least part of every day? Particularly those moments when you’re making a decision that affects your business or the direction you take?
How do you achieve them?
Your achievement of these goals is predicated on HOW they are implemented – the excellence of your execution coupled with your relentless focus on improvement.
This is not asking you to focus on the number of leads you plan to generate, or the number of networking events you’ll attend, or proposals you’ll submit, or clients you’ll win…at least not directly.
Which skills underpin your goals?
This is inviting you to have a clear understanding of the skills you possess and need in order to achieve your sales goals. Enhancing the quality of every single sales interaction you have.
It’s creating an inventory of skills that can be linked directly back to the achievement of your goals. Each inventory will differ owner by owner, sector by sector. The core requirements may well be the same for many, but the nuance in the level of each skill needed and what exists already will be utterly unique to you. As will the actions and measures you set yourself.
What matters is that in pursuing these learning goals for yourself, you are directly influencing your sales funnel for the better.
What type of goals have you set?
For example, if you have a goal that involves reaching new clients and generating revenue from them, then prosecting will be important.
- Your goal may be an INPUT goal – To attend 2 additional networking events a week and have 3 additional personal conversations after each one.
- Or it may be an OUTPUT goal – To successfully on-board 5 new clients with a minimum initial order value of £8,500 by August.
Whichever you have set for yourself, improving the quality of HOW this is achieved will substantially alter the odds in your favour.
What’s a skills inventory?
Listening is a skill crucial to networking and building new relationships. This is how an inventory might look for this skill.
Step 1 – Initial review:
Begin by identifying where in your sales process you want to focus and identify what’s going on now. For example
Stage of sales funnel requiring improvement – PROSPECTING
Current conversion ratio – 10%
Listening skill required – HIGH
Listening skill at present – LOW
Step 2 – Development plan:
Then think about the actions you will take to either enhance or develop this skill further. The more specific and embedded within the reality of your business the better, because you’ll realise the benefits faster.
Be sure to add some measures you can hold yourself accountable to; and to celebrate with cake when you achieve them.
How to enhance listening: (With measures for each in brackets)
- Ask only open questions when I begin a conversation (Plan and use 2 open questions for every networking conversation)
- Practice summarising what I hear and understood during a conversation (To be done minimum of once during every new networking or prospect conversation)
- Respond to the answers of the person I am with and stop worrying about what to say next (Stayed in rapport. Improved quality of information I have about the other person at the end of the conversation)
- Stop interrupting others (All interruptions and talking-over stops)
- Ensure others speak more than me (Estimate of 70:30 based upon my reflections after each conversation)
- 100% focused on them and switch my head chatter and my technology off (Learn how to be mindful and tuned in. Turn off my ‘phone / email alerts / laptop notices etc. before I join any event or meeting)
- Complete an active listening training course
- Track improved prospect conversion rates via my CRM (From 10% to 15% by August)
Where else in your business will this be of value?
Of course listening isn’t a skill unique to prospecting. The value of working on this extends right across across your business, your teams and your clients. Everything and everyone benefits.
They’ll be other skills you’ll also use to Prospect – for example rapport building, questioning, resilience, handling objections etc. There’ll be even more across the entirety of your goals. Too many to work on in one go.
But choosing to focus even a couple of skills that are core to HOW one of your goals is achieved, will make a significant difference.
Have you remembered your magic?
Also consider the things you’re really great at. The skills you take for granted. And those that show up when you’re away from your business, when you’ve finally managed to switch off your laptop, look up and do something else.
Are you really creative and how can that be better used to deliver your goals? Are you a natural problem-solver, and how might your services, your teams or your clients make better use of that?
Are you brilliant at distilling complicated concepts into easy-to-digest insight that helps people to understand? Are you an amazing story-teller, capable of bewitching even the most hardened of cynics?
What’s your magic and where can it be brought into sharper focus and applied with purpose within your business or in how you sell?
It’s not just about what you can’t do. It’s also about what you can.
Working smarter not just harder. A good goal in its own right for 2021!