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The Right F Words to Use When Talking About Your Sales
by Peter C. Rathmann on January 17th, 2015

​If you have been in sales for a while, then you have probably heard the well-known “F” word used in a variety of ways from various associates and contacts to describe bad customers, competition, suppliers, managers, lost prospects, and anyone or anything that kept you from meeting your numbers.  If you have not, then you should be applauded, have someone write a biography about you, and you probably do not need to read the rest of this post.

To those of you who are just entering sales or making a change and looking to never hear the well-known “F” word used in a variety of ways by various people ever again, then I hope this post is helpful and gives you some alternate “F” words to use when talking about your sales.

The first word is focus. Your time is not infinite.  There are only 50 selling weeks in the year which equates to about 235 selling days with holidays and vacations that really only leaves you with 1880 hours only if you are truly able to sell for 8 hours a day.  There are of course many more hours that are “worked”, however what are the chances those are all used for selling? In a recent study, most sales people spend 10% of their time actively selling, 10% of their time prospecting, 14% of their time problem solving, 17% of their time on personal calls and emails, 18% of their time traveling, and 31% of their time on administrative activities. That equates to the average sales person really only actively selling for 188 hours in a best case scenario.  You have to ask yourself what your paycheck would look like and what the company sales would look like if you were able to simply increase that by even 50% to 282 hours per year.  What if you doubled or tripled that amount of time?  If you are not able to increase the amount of active selling hours, then I would suggest you be smart about who you are selling to in those hours and make sure you stay focused on what needs to happen for those to be successful selling hours.

The second word is fill. The sales funnel is your life line and your crystal ball to your success so any personal marketing efforts and conversation with prospects, networking contacts, and current customers should be focused on filling your sales funnel with quality opportunities.  Go back to our first word to make sure those marketing efforts, conversation with prospects, networking contacts, and current customers are happening with the right people regarding the right opportunities.

The third word is forward. Sales goals never shrink, engineers do not try to increase inefficiencies, no sport celebrates backward progress or decreased performance, and no awards are handed out for the least decline below last year.  Every activity you do should be focused on moving people around you forward, moving opportunities forward into and through the sales funnel, and helping your customers move their business forward. Go back to our first word again to make sure you are prepared to make those activities happen.  I would even suggest pre-gaming every meeting and conversation you are going to have and ask yourself how you are going to move that person, opportunity, or business forward and then plan your conversations accordingly.

The fourth word is finish. Although we are capable of learning from post mortems on lost business, scrapped projects, lost customers, missed goals, and other failures, nobody in sales like leaving things unfinished when they know they have the opportunity to complete them.  That is realistically what separates the great sales people from the good sales people.  The great sales people are willing to do the things that the good sales people would not finish.  Finishing that last email, finishing that one last phone call, finishing that one last client meeting, finishing the sale by asking for the order.

Using the "F" words focus, fill, forward, and finish will definitely help your sales better in the long term that using the "F" word you might have been thinking about in the beginning of this post.

Please feel free to contact us if you need help focusing, filling, moving things forward, and finishing.


Posted in Sales Coaching, Sales Management, Sales Skills, Sales Training, Selling Activities, Strategic Planning    Tagged with F word, Sales, competition, prospecting, time management, Ask for the order, focus, Sales Funnel


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