Nigel Green is back on our podcast with his new book "Revenue Harvest". This is a great book for sales leaders and managers. It takes the intangible idea of sales and ties them to tangible examples, giving us pictures in our heads and making it stick. With the current pandemic of Coronavirus, and there being so much of what we can't control, Nigel talks about things we do have control over while our harvest isn't coming in.
Sales can be so difficult for people to wrap their heads around because it's all of these ideas that are floating up here in the ether and taking it into this harvest concept made it where we could see it a lot easier and we really appreciated that about revenue harvest. One thing that's true about our friends in the farming community is that it's really clear - either you produced a crop or you didn't. And so a lot of sales leaders have ideas, they have dreams, they don't really have plans. So we'll get to the end of the selling year and they don't know how to measure whether or not it was a good year or not a good year or what worked or what didn't work. And in fact, it's times like these when we're in the midst of pandemics and crises that a lot of sales leaders and business owners are finding their plans and their ability to plan being really challenged.
So many times when things are slow and we get into a slump, we don't do anything, but we realize what we're doing for the next 30 days, and this is part of the planning, it impacts us down the road. Just like in farming, if we don't plant when it's time to plant, for example for a wheat farmer, that's usually in the fall. So if you're not planting in the fall, there'll be nothing ready when spring and summer come and you're looking for a harvest, there just won't be anything there. In his book, Nigel says that farming and selling are two of the oldest professions and truly they are. And we love how he's bringing both of those together.
He talks about seven principles:
So a couple of things we have to look at is in the area of restore, it's incredibly important that we realize we're just shifting. This is not the end of the world. This is not Corona apocalypse. Although there's lots of that stuff being said online. It's not the end of the world. What this is, is it's a shift and this is a great time to work on the restore and also to begin to work into the plan. Those things can be working simultaneously and that's where community online is going to be so important. And so "restore" is super critical and yet it's not like this is such a slow period. This is actually a transition period into the next thing that we can do to serve the people that we're called to serve.
You have to take the slow periods when they come, you have to know when to identify them and take advantage of them. For many of us at home, we can't get out and sell. We can't get out and grow our business. So what can we do? Well, Nigel says it's time to fire yourself and rehire yourself back in a new way, ready to respond to this crisis. Say to yourself in your head, "I'm trusting that", "I need to make progress on", "I'd like to get the support of", "My intention is to"... write all that stuff down. Who's the person that needs to step in?
Who are the YOU that you need to be that can answer those tough questions for your team and for your business and get clear on the leader you need to be in this season and hire that person because who you were before this crisis is not going to be the leader that your team needs, that your business needs to survive and what's going to be this new economy. Because we're learning a lot about what was business as usual. There will not be business as usual. Teams will have mutinies about going back to work. We will recognize that working from home and needing people in the office and having brick and mortar offices aren't as necessary, so it's going to be a new economy. So who do you need to be as a new leader in this new economy? Now's the time to work on it. It's already here.
Nigel's new book, Revenue Harvest, is to help sales leaders plan their perfect year and execute against that plan throughout the year. So it's a book that should be on your desk. The way each chapter has been laid out is there's questions at the end of it. They're very tactical things that you can do. So when you find yourself wrestling with where you are with one of these principles, you just pick it up and yeah, it'll give you, it'll give you some things to think about and to consider and hopefully take action on.
Questions that come up are:
What are the specific steps that I need to take for each customer to go from unaware of our offering to clear up the problem we solve and happily utilizing the service we provide?
Are those steps written down?
Can you take every opportunity that's in your current sales funnel and identify which stage each opportunity is currently at and what clear measurable actions need to be taken by whom, by when to get the deal done?
That is tending. Not everybody does that well. And then and, and here we are. We're stuck at home. This is a perfect time for people to do that. Now there will be distractions at home. There are things that people would rather be doing than going out and doing these steps. How can we stay on task with these things while they have these changing times, these slow times, if you will?
It's important to remember what you can and what you can't control. You can control your attitude. You can control the narrative that's in your head. You can control what you consume, whether it be through media or actually ingesting into your body. You can control how you spend your time. Things you can't control is when this virus is going to be over. When you get to go back to work. Whether or not a customer wants to buy or not. You can control how many phone calls you're going to make today just to check in on customers - maybe not even ask them for business, but just to be human and empathetic. You can control how you plan your followup. You can control the technology that you want to use in lieu of getting in front of people. You can control, if you're a business owner, you can control your expenses. You can decide to suspend, to furlough, to reduce expenses. There's so many things that are controllable that we choose to ignore in times like this. Nigel's soundbite to leaders is you have to think about "What are the results that I need?" "How far is this going to deviate me from plan" and "What specific actions can I take today that'll help me get back on plan."
Dwight Eisenhower said that when it comes to preparing to go to war, he's always found that the plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. Planning allows you to do is to know where you're deviated off course and how and when to intervene. We all know that you can write a plan down it's not going to happen, but that's not the point. The point is that planning challenges you to think about contingencies, to think about the "what ifs" and think about what adversity you should anticipate along the way.
This is a crazy time. This is a crazy time to be going through everyone saying this is unprecedented. We've never been through anything like this. We've been through stuff like this before. We've gotten through it before. What matters now is come back to your roots, come back to what is going to get you through. Stay dedicated to growth and to learning and to getting yourself to the other side. You got this. Go out there and make it a great week.