Avoiding Holiday Sales Slack

There is no better way to celebrate the birth of our country than by spending a five-day weekend with friends and family. So as the holiday week finally arrives, you find yourself cramming all the work that would normally take an entire week to finish into one workday. You scramble to tie up loose ends, finish any work that must be done, and then head out. In a flash, you’re out on the lake, driving a boat and pulling your waterskiing friend behind you. As your buddy motions you to give it more gas, you give him the okay sign and push the throttle forward. You look back to make sure you aren’t going too fast for the old-timer. As you turn, you accidentally tip your beer and the frothy suds quickly find their way into the console controlling the speed of the boat. The taught rope pulling your friend begins to relax as the boat slows. Noticing the slack, your waterskiing friend motions frantically for you to give it more gas. You smack the console hard with the palm of your hand. After all, nothing cures a malfunctioning boat like some vented frustration. With the force of the whack, the boat picks up speed – too much speed. Your friend’s arms are nearly pulled right out of their sockets. He struggles to find his balance and quickly adjust to the changing speed of the boat. As he looks at you uneasily, you throw your hands in the air and shrug your shoulders, giving him the universal boating sign for “I don’t know what’s going on.” Suddenly, the boat slows. As the rope goes almost completely limp, your friend begins to sink. This time, you kick the console, and the boat picks up speed rapidly.

With the sudden change in speed, your friend jerks and loses control of the rope. You look back to see the rope bouncing and skipping off the water while your friend is left floating in the wake. What was it that kept your friend from enjoying a nice, smooth ride? The important element that was missing was that of consistency. If the boat had been able to maintain a consistent speed, the taught rope would have pulled your friend at a continuous and smooth rate. For salespeople, consistency can be hard to maintain, especially during a holiday week. Our own inability to stay focused and disciplined through constant, predictable daily activity leads us through our own tumultuous ups and downs in sales. When sales are good, we slow down, causing slack in the rope. Noticing the slack and our mistake, we speed up frantically. As sales increase, we again take a break from all our hard effort, apparently never learning the affect of our cycle. To keep sales at a consistent speed, you need do nothing more than have the discipline to maintain regular activity doing what you do best – talking to people who have the ability to say “yes” to you. This shouldn’t change the week before or after major holidays; it only changes because you allow it to.

Instead of waiting for your sales manager to come in with his fancy pie charts and activity reports, take control of your own vessel and regulate your own speed. Set your own goals higher than those set by those who sign your paychecks. Truly professional salespeople treat every day of the week as if it were the last day before a long weekend, cramming an average person’s week of work into a single day. Instead of letting your thoughts drift off to what you will be doing this weekend, or remembering what you did last weekend, think of what you can do now to make a friend and a sale. With a consistent speed, you’ll enjoy a nice ride of sales while your competitors are left floating in your wake.