One of my friends is a farmer, and amongst our idle chatter yesterday, he mentioned that he was ready for harvest time, and merely being held back by the sodden ground after so much rain recently.
It must be extraordinarily frustrating, after all the work that has gone into getting ready, to be held up just at the point of harvesting.
In most businesses, there's a need to both harvest, and sow for future harvesting at the same time... which presents a different challenge.
In many cases, and often for individual sales people, a good sales period is followed by a bad one in an almost predictable cycle. And sometimes the timescale can be short, so a good week can be followed by a bad week, and so on.
It is critically important to recognise that you are doing enough of both harvesting and sowing. But how many people really monitor this. I don’t mean by having complex computerised record keeping systems. I mean just keeping a simple, highly practical, very visual, record of productivity/ activity.
Let’s use an example to show how easy it is to monitor this…
In my days in financial services, I devised a weekly productivity sheet, a colour coded chart which recorded, day by day, all my client meetings (designated by type of meeting), and business generated. All I did was write the client/ prospective client name in a different colour depending on the type of meeting being conducted. Simple.
Three types of meeting were coded;
Exploratory / opening meeting (Black)
Factfinding meeting - a full analysis of current client situation (Blue)
Solution meeting – presenting the advice (Red)
If the solution meeting resulted in business (eg a new client), a red circle was placed around the client name.
That way, at the end of each week it was easy to see at a glance, how many black meetings, blue meetings, red meetings had been conducted; and how much business had been generated. Take 4 sheets and you have a month by month record. It also helps to compare any time period with that of the previous year.
Over time, I noticed that it was the Black and Blue meetings which were the key. The Black and Blue meetings this week/ month, lead to the red meetings next week/ month.
If I was low on Blacks and Blues, even though I may be enjoying a good harvest just now, I would be flirting with a famine later on if I wasn’t careful.
There will be an equivalent way of measuring your own activity I am sure.
Suggestion: why not produce a simple colour coded chart to help you monitor your performance, in your key result areas.