Solid decisions- NOT “wishful thinking” (Part 3)

So far in this “wishful thinking” series we’ve used solid decisions to 1) avoid paper-thin (or non-existent) profits and 2) firing unprofitable clients.  So here is one more area where making an unflinching assessment of critical data and then taking action will make your business stronger.

3. “Gonna” sales.

These are sales we keep telling ourselves are “gonna” happen. Next week. Next month. “Just trust me”, we say. “I can feel it. I know they’re gonna come in.” Well, sometimes they do come in! And when they do life is good for a while. But more often “gonna sales” don’t happen. Or they’re delayed… again and again and again.

When this happens, we can quickly dig ourselves into a hole so deep it can take months — or even years — to dig ourselves out. (See “Paper-thin profits” from last month.) Continuing to run our businesses today based on sales we’re hoping will arrive tomorrow is simply not a good business strategy. (OK, let me be more blunt- this “optimistic expectancy” is a terrible way to run a railroad!)

Building sales should be a systematic and predictable function in any business. Over time, we can predict with a reasonable amount of accuracy what we can expect in sales in a given month or year… IF we stay aggressive with our sales activity.

It’s when we become complacent, or when we take our foot off the sales accelerator pedal for any reason and rely on hope as a sales strategy, that we start to depend on “gonna” sales. Well, “gonna” sales won’t build your business. (Our esteemed SFS Director of Training, Steve Toburen, says that “Selling is a process- NOT an event”.  And so it is.)

If you’re planning to increase sales this year over last year then ask yourself “What do I have to do differently this year to hit my new goals? What are my customers’ expectations this year? Will they need more or less of my services this year? Why? Is their company’s market soft or strong? Is my service to them sagging? Do I have a competitor who is gaining a larger share of their work?”  The best place to gain this invaluable “real data” is sitting at a conference table or over lunch with your customer asking him or her these questions.

When we make business decisions based on hard evidence and solid data gained from question like these (rather than on wishful thinking) we’ll make good decisions. And although these decisions won’t always be easy to make we will wind up with a stronger company than we started with.  (In the next part of this series I’ll share my final “wishful thinking” trap.)

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

1 thought on “Solid decisions- NOT “wishful thinking” (Part 3)”

  1. Great points Chuck.

    I always like to say, “If you keep on doing what you have always done you will get what you have always gotten!”

    We also warn our SFS attendees, “Never run your business based on a high degree of hope!”

    You have highlighted both of these maxims in your article.

    Thank you.

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