Until I was 20, I played soccer and football at a competitive level. I was fortunate to have some excellent coaches along the way. One of those coaches was Nick Saban when he and I were both at LSU. It was the first time that I remember hearing someone talk to me about the discipline to focus on my process instead of my goal. He was always telling...errr yelling...about doing the little things to accomplish the big things.
Now, it wasn’t the first time that I’d heard someone tell me some version of that. I’d heard many times things like “the devil is in the details” but it never had context to what I was doing. It wasn’t until Saban said it repeatedly to a group of 100+ student athletes all working towards the goal of a championship that I understood how it all worked together.
Of course, I knew that every team I’d been on prior was working towards winning.
Of course, I knew that every team I’d been on prior had plays that needed to be run.
What I didn’t understand prior is that every individual had to be playing in the same system every day in order to win.
Saban’s system was based on compound movements. I have no idea if he personally called them that, but that’s what I’m calling them. Much later after I had time to reflect on that period of my life, I realized that every session (weight room, agilities, actual practice, etc.) ran on a very precise schedule according to the end of the preceding session that was part of a system not a goal.
For instance, I knew which station I had to be at 4, then 415, then 430, etc.; but I didn’t know how that fit into the plan of having a successful spring practice, then summer practice, then a season, then a championship.
When there is no system in place, you see flashes of brilliance from your favorite sports team. It’s the reason why your sales team hitting its sales quota is a rollercoaster ride from one month to the next.
A system is nothing more than a series of compound movements chained together to achieve an outcome.
You need 3 things to create a sales system:
A mobile-first enabled tech stack.
A sales strategy comprised of compound movements.
A cadence for reviewing results and adjusting compound movements.
Numbers 1 and 3 are vital, but this article is focused on number 2: creating compound movements.
A major problem facing sales professionals today is having the discipline to stay focused on what they need to accomplish for the day. Back “in the day” a sales rep could either sit at his desk making calls or he could go out knocking on doors. The only distractions were in his mind or that of his office environment.
Now, we all have a laptop (or computer) on our desk and a mobile device in our hands. Both of the devices are constantly blurring the line between business use and personal use. You think that you actually own these devices, but without a discipline approach to your work they actually own you. If Facebook had a listing for a relationship status with your devices it would be marked as “it’s complicated.”
I started waking up at 330AM each day because I realized that I could be more effective at getting through the majority of my “hard” work before noon each day. Like many people, I tried for years to force or motivate myself to do hard things like workout, eat right or make cold calls. The problem with this is that this takes me 10X as much energy to do something if I don’t love the process.
I’m not lazy.
I do have a human mind. Physically it’s like a lump of clay that needs to be molded and its thoughts are like water. Water will always take the path of least resistance. Water will always flow down. Without guidance, water will make its own tributaries towards its final destination.
The human mind acts the same way. If left to our own devices (literally), we will do what is most pleasurable to us. A worse result that usually arises is that we stay busy thinking that we are working but not actually doing anything effective.
I use sales strategies comprised of “compound movements” to get me through my day. Many people brag about being a multitasker for which 98% of us is just a lot of ineffective movement.
Compound movements on the hand force you to focus on one task at a time but immediately compound, or lead, into your next movement.
The beauty of this is three-fold.
It has a “flywheel effect” that keeps building sales momentum upon itself.
It promotes creating and sharing strategies with other members of the sales team.
If you just “show up” each day and get your reps in, then you will succeed.
In short, compound movements help remove the bulk of human error from the sales system.
So how do you create a compound movement strategy?
It’s easy. Remember the letters HEC and then do it every day.
Hunt: Where are you going to hunt for prospects or customers? It doesn’t have to be cold. It can be your network, your CRM, existing customers, Facebook group, etc.
Engage: What channel will you engage them in? How can you grab attention through education and entertainment? Do not limit yourself to the contact data you’ve been given by marketing or some paid database.
Consult: This doesn’t occur until you’re talking to your buyer or at least an internal champion. How can you add value to their objectives? How can you serve them?
Here’s a real example of this...
I call this hunting technique my LinkedIn 3 Bucket Challenge. Make a list of 1st degree connections on LinkedIn that you think can refer you to potential prospects and you make a list of them in a spreadsheet. Categorize those connections into 3 categories such as A) can buy or recommend, B) might be able to buy or recommend and C) cannot buy or recommend but good to keep in touch.
Just because they’re on LinkedIn doesn’t mean you have to engage them there. Email, text, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Telegram, etc. It’s all fair game. I even helped one client combine Spotify (she is a gospel singer) and Tinder together to promote her book tour. REMEMBER: Your competition is NOT whomever is in your Gartner quadrant or selling widgets against you at a lower price. Your competition is Kylie Jenner, Amazon, TikTok, the buyer’s family group text and any one of the other distractions that can effortlessly make its way into the mobile device of your prospect. Make your engagement count! Grab their fu#$ing attention!
Once you’ve got their attention and are having a business conversation, your job has now shifted into finding out what their objectives are. You have got to figure out how you can help them achieve those objectives. This skill is absolutely critical for your future in sales because the ability for one human to read another human is the only piece of AI that has yet to be clearly defined on the product roadmap of business automation. It boils down to your ability to listen for a solution and curate the resources required to accomplish that solution.
You have a sales quota but you don’t need to focus on your quota.
Build a system comprised of compound movements so you can get your reps in every single day.
Focus on running and refining that system.
Quotas (and goals) will be achieved.