THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

3rd May and unemployed (again)

In the world of pure sales, we begin every month as if we were starting a new job.

“Not a lot of people know this” but my work for 7connections generates my income on a performance-only remuneration basis.

Every month my fees are totalled (that’s for coaching, training, speaking and mentoring).

From that total a deduction is made for all my travel, sustenance and accommodation costs (the equivalent of a lab fee).

A sliding scale is applied to the resulting balance:

  1. 35% on the first £10,000;

  2. 40% on the next £10,000;

  3. 45% on any balance over £20,000.

I don’t get any compensation added to that formula for future sales of our digital marketing products, so an introduction to my colleagues on that side of the business is not motivated by short-term gain (although I clearly care about the long-term future of the business and believe in what they do).

If I don’t sell (me), I don’t earn – period.

There have been times in the past when I’ve taken a fixed salary every month – I found that my attention to my sales target started to drift as I became distracted by whatever bright shiny objects floated into view, or simply sat on my laurels and watched as consultancy contracts came to an end and were not replaced quickly enough.

My first commission-only job was in financial services back in 1983 and I quickly became accustomed to the urgency and reality of that lifestyle.

Earning exactly what I’m worth every month is a challenge that brings out the best in me.

I’ve witnessed over the years (in financial services and dentistry) that it can bring out the worst in others.

It’s for that reason that the selection process for those on performance-related pay has to be scrupulous, the product or service offered must be tested and proven and the internal and external regulatory standards set high.

Assuming those conditions are in place – I do rather like being unemployed (again) on the first working day of every month.

It requires a moment of reflection before I dive into my daily task list:

  1. what sales target do I have for this month?

  2. what sales am I currently projecting?

  3. if there is a shortfall, what am I going to do about it?

  4. are there any spare days in my calendar for the month?

  5. what am I doing about potential new clients that are in my sales pipeline list?

  6. what am I doing to add new potential new clients to my pipeline this month and over the next 90 days?

Those questions are repeated every Monday morning throughout the month. It’s a conversation I have with myself and, therefore, I have to constantly remind myself to maintain the successful habit of asking.

This morning, I’m projecting 87% of my sales target for May 2016 and so I have to get my act together to find the other 13% in the next 28 days.

Here we go – again.

p.s. as a result, I’m a very effective sales manager – if you have sales people who need managing, ask me how.

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