My mentor told me these 3 principles on our first day of training. At that time, I just noted them down and never really give it a serious thought and practice.
Over the time, I saw him repeated this teaching to other people who were lucky enough to have chance to learn things from him. And I witnessed all the successful results when the rules are followed through each execution. On the other hand, I saw how things failed miserably when these rules were not being followed, especially when one missed out a step.
I can say this is the secret to success. Simple rules yet so powerful. It is the difference between people who always deliver on promise no matter what are the circumstances and people who always fail together with a set of reasons for their failures.
Here are the principles. These can be applied to everything you want to do in life, except maybe love.
1. Do homework/preparation
Before we start working on anything, we need to do our homework or make enough preparation. No generals or soldiers are going to go to the war unprepared. This is the same philosophy.
For sales people, preparation may mean studying the list of potential customers, competitors , understanding the markets, etc. It may also include qualification of the customers and coming out with the sales strategies.
For people who are going to travel to the foreign countries or states, it may mean studying the weather, what kind of clothes to prepare, places for visiting or shopping, things to buy and the expected prices, how much money to change to the foreign currency, etc. Also, we probably need to ask friends who had been to the same place on what to take note, especially things to beware of.
I learn this from my own few bad experiences in my recent trip to Beijing. I wish I was more prepared. But I am glad I realized my mistakes and are working for a big change now.
Thus, I think this step is most important but also most omitted by people, usually due to lot of common excuses and habits like procrastination, laziness, wrong priorities , not enough time or too rush. For e.g. , how many times you have gone to poor demo or presentations and wonder why the presenters are not well prepared? Or how many times you read through reports or proposals or resumes submitted to you and find there are still a lot of mistakes which should not be made?
It is important to spend enough times and efforts in doing the homework and ensuring a certain quality of the homework.
2. Be Focus
After we have done the homework, now it is time to start on the real work itself. We must be very focus to execute from start to end.
We must always finish what we started. We cannot quit no matter what. It is important that we do not quit at this stage as psychologically if we do, we may just continue to quit for the next and following tasks. And finally it becomes our habit to quit whenever things go wrong. And things always go wrong. That's why it is necessary for us to make it right.
Of course, not all the things are worth continuing. Sometimes we have to quit also if we know it is not possible for us to make it to the end or deliver the results we want. If we want to quit, the best time to quit is actually before or at the homework stage.
For sales people, focus may mean perseverance in making appointments with customers, doing presentations and following up until they close the deals.
3. Have Backup Plan
Never have one and only plan. Have plan A and plan B. Plan B is the backup. If plan A fail, execute plan B. We may also want to have plan C and plan D depending on the complexity and difficulty of the tasks.
This is also a very important steps but most people never work on this because they do no want the hassle to think of another plan to backup. They put their full bets on their main plan to go right and counting on their lucks, which are very silly.
Since sales is all about making numbers, it is important to plan it by playing around with the numbers. If the sales target is set to be 1 million for that year, make sure we are planning sales pipelines which is much more than that. If our target is to get 10 customers a week, make sure we make appointments with 30 to 50 customers. If product A may not be able to meet the target sales, have product B to start selling as the backup plan.
Let us all follow these 3 principles to ensure we are always winning in everything we do.
He who fails to plan, plans to fail.