Write your own road map to success

     Staying motivated while earning a living by straight commission sales can be almost as challenging as making those sales in the first place.  Commission sales jobs are often among the most highly paid positions around.  I once worked with a man who was promoted to a sales manager position earning one hundred thousand a year, but opted to return to the regular sales force because he didn't like the pay cut. 

     Of course the 80/20 average also pertains to salesmen.  In any sales force, eighty percent of the sales come from twenty percent of the sales force.  The trick of course is to be part of the twenty percent.  The key is motivation. Some people are motivated by money, others by awards, still others seek the respect and admiration of their coworkers. 

     Regardless of the ultimate motivating goal, most, the other eighty percent, continue to fumble and fail despite their best efforts.  The fact of the matter is, the end goal always seems too far way to achieve.  As you go out each day, the amount of money you need for the down payment on your dream car is still too large, winning the sales contest seems impossible, and as for the respect of your peers, forget about it.

     That's why you are often advised to set intermediate goals.  As you move toward your end goal, reward yourself along the way.  Take a bit of the down payment and get yourself or your family something nice, to see something tangible for your efforts.  It works well for some, but that never worked for me. What did work was a road map. 

     If you know where you are, and you know your destination, you still won't get there without a map.  The map in this case is usually a plan.  Any one in sales has heard the old saw, plan your work and work your plan.  They sit at the start of the day, go through some leads, plan a route if they are in direct sales.  Or if in phone sales, they gather their names, practice their script and start making those calls.  In any type of sales, you always have a goal of how many calls you want to make, and often, you have a good day, or week, or month.  But do you know how you did it?  Were you able to keep your motivation going by plugging away day after day hoping for the best?

     This is where a real map comes in. It doesn't just show you how to get there once, but will show you how to get there every single time.  This is not an original idea, it's been around for years and you may have heard of it and maybe even tried it haphazardly in the past, but if you commit to doing this one thing consistently, you will find your source of motivation, your map to sales success.

The Key

      Keep records.  Thorough detailed records.  Record each call, each appointment obtained with those calls and every sale generated from those appointments.  If you have a route or regular accounts, keep a record of each stop and every sale from those stops.

     After a surprisingly short time, you will know, absolutely know, how many calls will get you an appointment and how many appointments will get you a sale.  On route/account sales, you will know how many stops will generate sales from an account and by keeping records, you will know which accounts are most profitable.  Once you know that, you can focus on the top dollar accounts and slowly replace the slow accounts with better ones.

The reason it works

     The one thing that kills sales and sales people is uncertainty.  Never knowing how the day will go, how the appointment will turn out.  With records, you can have absolute certainty, that as long as you make X number of calls, you will get X number of appointments and X number of sales.  In fact, you don't have to worry about making sales at all.  All you have to do is make the calls and rest assured that the law of averages will take care of the sales.

     How detailed your records need to be is up to you.  For example, you can simply record the number of calls you make, or you can also record the source of the lead. Whether it came from a referral, advertising, or somewhere else. That can help show where to place your focus for lead generation.  Use your records to improve where needed, know your numbers but don't become obsessed.  Remember, you still have to go out and sell.  Good luck.