Mastering Simple Tasks: A Recipe For Sales Success
By Brandon Gray
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with my daughter’s fast-pitch softball tournament team. In the softball/baseball world, these teams are commonly referred to as “travel ball” teams. They are generally invitation-only elite teams that compete in exclusive tournaments in and around the state in which the team is based.
During the weekend that I volunteered with the team, the girls really struggled to win and the tournament culminated in a last place finish for our team. As I thought back over the weekend’s games and the heartbreaking losses, I struggled to pinpoint a singular cause to our team’s destruction. After all, this is a group of elite players who completed tryouts and based on level of skill were invited to play. So one would tend to make an assumption that being competitive and winning would come almost naturally to this group. But why were they struggling? The more I analyzed each game I began to notice a pattern. The games would start normally and pitching and hitting would be generally as expected. But at some point, an error would be made. Either a bad throw from shortstop to first or a bobble of a routine grounder at second. Then things would start to “snowball” from there. A dropped fly ball in right, passed ball by the catcher, running mistakes on the base path. The game would end in a series of errors culminating in many runs scored by the opponent. But why? Again, these are elite players. WHY?
I came to the conclusion that our players were so focused on the end goal of getting to the championship game and winning the tournament that, one by one, they failed to perform the simple tasks required to get to there. It made me realize how important it is to focus and execute the simple tasks at hand if we are ever going to succeed. The teams that made it to the championship game almost always executed the simple tasks of fielding, throwing, and base running. They played every pitch just for that moment not being blinded by the goal at the end. And before they knew it, these individual simple tasks when strung together culminated in success for those teams.
I began to ponder how this related to my company’s sales team, and well, sales in general. I often contemplate why some salespeople are successful while others struggle. You hear things like, “they’re a real go-getter” or “they are a people person” or even “they could sell ice to an Eskimo”.
But could the answer be as easy as they are great at focusing on executing the simple tasks one-by-one in order to find the success they desire? As a salesperson, I think there can be a tendency to feel so much pressure to make a sale or bring in a new client. One can get easily overwhelmed with the need to produce results. This pressure can cause salespeople to lose focus on the simple tasks that must be performed well to ensure success. If one knows they are expected to bring in $1 million by end of the year and today they are at $0, the weight of that can simply be too much. They lose focus on the simple tasks and almost certainly ensure defeat before they even get started.
Instead, great salespeople (while realizing and understanding their goals) focus more on “What can I do today? Right now? In this one moment?” I can reach out to a new client. I can research new areas for our business. I can plan a trip to an upcoming conference in my area. I can follow up with stale contacts. By themselves, these simple tasks seem almost insignificant. But when executed well and put together one-by-one, a formula leading to success is created.
Instead of worrying about quotas, budgets and end goals, think about this one call, this meeting, this customer, this moment. This one moment must be accomplished before I can move to the next…and the next…and so on. It does no good for me to focus on holding a championship ring at the end of a weekend tournament. Right now I’ve got a 3-2 count with runners on the corners in the bottom of the third. Time to get busy executing my simple tasks.
Brandon Gray, National Sales Director
TruHorizons Environmental Solutions
201 West Ranch Court
Weatherford, Texas 76088