In 2008 I literally let the fat creep in. I’ve always played a lot of sports and ran daily. In 2008 I was sidelined for the first time with a knee injury. So, for one entire year I replaced the stress reliever of sweat with a newfound stress reliever – red velvet cake. My husband was happy to go along on this new strategy, too (although his choice was Oreo Cake.). It wasn’t long before I began to notice some signs of the creep. First of all, my dress size went up. Then, I felt more tired. I had perfectly reasonable explanations for each of these signs – “I ate a big meal last night”, “I’ve been travelling too much”, etc.
Then, I had a wake up call. I saw a very unflattering picture of myself. I couldn’t believe it and yet still had to see more evidence to truly believe. Finally, I got on the scale and there was no more denying it.
Begin the creep out. My first response was to do a liquid fast or any other number of drastic, fast fixes. I changed courses almost every day. Of course this didn’t work. So, now I am losing 1-2 pounds per week by burning more calories that I take in. This, turns out, is a slow, steady, frustrating and rewarding process.
The same creep happens to sales people. So, how do you turn it around and creep back in the other direction?
First of all, get on the scale early and often.
It is hard to be in denial when it’s staring back at you in black and white. Run every report you can – look at activity trends for your salespeople, performance numbers, data, data, data. Wallpaper your office with charts and address any turn in the wrong direction.
Embrace and share the unflattering pictures.
It is no fun to see your team at the bottom of any report. Facing reality is a trait of successful businesses (Good to Great anyone?). You are better off being the one to surface it and address it and even get guidance. It will come out sooner or later and you’re in a much better position when you are the solution instead of the problem.
Don’t change diets every Monday.
Pick a strategy, a good strategy, and then stick to it. It’s OK to make adjustments along the way, but too many sales teams have the “flavor of the week” strategy system. This is confusing and keeps the creep creeping the wrong way.
No crash diets.
Way too often I talk to companies who are trying to fix everything with one 2-day sales training program. It can’t be done. Just like the 2-day liquid diet doesn’t work. Yeah, you’ll drop a waist size, but it won’t last and often you end up worse than before. The same thing happens with the “fix all” training session. Instead, pick 1-2 things that will make the biggest difference and align all your focus, accountability and resource behind those things.
Recognize the creep earlier next time.
Now that you’ve addressed it, analyze the creep. What were the early signs? How can you recognize those sooner next time? Figure that out and stay vigilant.
It does take some time to creep back out so get started now. Your team is counting on you.
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