So you are now well into Q3, Q4 is looming around the corner, and perhaps you are well behind where you need to be revenue-wise. Perhaps you have lost some big opportunities and you are feeling pretty defeated. If this sounds like you then consider a lesson from 1776.
In the winter of that year it seemed highly unlikely that the Americans would prevail in the war against the British crown. George Washington and his Continental Army had suffered defeat after defeat and had been forced to retreat through New Jersey into Pennsylvania. Morale was low, desertion high and the prospects for reenlistment remote. But rather than succumb to what seemed the inevitable, Washington decided that winning a victory, any victory–and soon–was critical to turning things around. To this end he carefully re-examined his options and found a target in the wintering Hessians at Trenton. If he could rally the Continental Army and get them to Trenton he was confident that surprise and superior numbers would carry the day. So he set off on that famous crossing of the Delaware and the rest, as they say, is history.
But what has this got to do with sales, you might be asking yourself? It is simple really. Sometimes in sales when you are in tough times and suffering one deal loss after another you, too, need a victory, any victory. Too often the temptation is to redouble your efforts and chase every deal twice as hard in the hope that the law of averages or lady luck will carry the day. I liken this approach to Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, throwing everything into grand but futile gestures when the chances of success are practically zero.
Rather you need to adopt the Washington strategy. First take a new, hard look at all the opportunities you have. Second, dismiss all the ones that you really don’t stand a realistic chance of winning. Third, park the ones that you have a somewhat reasonable chance at–you can come back to them with fresh vigor when you are used to winning again. Fourth, pick that opportunity that you have the best chance of winning, and remember it doesn’t have to be the biggest or the most strategic, but it does need to be one that you have a better than average chance of winning if you over-resource it. Fifth, over-resource it.
It has been proven time and again that winning can become a habit and as you head into the fourth quarter of 2017, find your Trenton, cross the Delaware and commit your resources to securing the win. Then use it as a springboard to conquer the rest of your territory or segment.
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