Author: Rodney Ray
Within our Canidium Learning Program, we emphasize that it takes more than technical skills to be a great consultant. What we are really doing when we implement a sales performance management system is helping improve our customers’ businesses by increasing efficiency, reducing errors, driving higher revenue attainment, and so on. To view our projects as successful, we must understand our customers’ needs along those lines and manage our efforts toward helping them achieve their desired results. We must also manage our efforts in a way that delivers the project within the agreed timeframe and budget!
On that note, I would like to share three key business-skills concepts that we use to help our team build a foundation to better navigate day-to-day project challenges and help our customers reach the next level in their businesses.
- Think “college math tests.” Most of us have experienced a situation where we didn’t do well on an exam because we spent too much time and energy early on trying to solve a problem that stumped us. At some point, we learned to prioritize the problems we could solve, and then come back to the others. As you work through project tasks, apply that same thinking where possible. Focus first on the tasks/problems you can resolve, then come back to cycle through the more uncertain pieces.
- Know whether to paint the Mona Lisa or just draw a smiley face. There is a time and place for each. In other words, don’t over-engineer a simple solution or proof of concept, and don’t shortcut a deliverable that warrants more time and attention.
- Careful with “sweat equity” investments. Sometimes it’s hard to deprioritize or let go of something you have put a lot of time and effort into. However, it is important to stay focused on priorities that are most important to the project, realize when they have changed, and know when it’s time to shift your focus.
- You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Most of us in this business are helpers and problem solvers, so it is tempting to move quickly into speaking and offering answers/solutions when we engage in conversations with our team and our customers. We must fight this urge (and it’s not easy). Listening and asking questions is crucial to ensure you fully understand the situation (and how it relates to your other priorities) before you can offer optimal recommendations and solutions.
- Voltaire said, “the secret to being a bore is to tell everything.” Avoid losing your listeners! When you present information, verbally or in writing, put the message and required action right up front, then provide additional information as necessary. Focus on the solution, rather than over-sharing the details about the problem.
Commit and Follow Through:
- Your mom does not work here. It’s on you to own your work and see it through to completion (and if you need help or the deadline seems questionable, be deliberate and clear in communicating that). Commitment and follow-through are key ingredients for quickly gaining the trust of your project team and your customers.
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of project success skills, but anyone can begin applying these principles right away. I like to challenge everyone on our team to pick one or two to hone in on and practice daily. Then, in a few weeks, rinse and repeat!
If you need help improving your own sales organization and driving higher performance, contact our team of experts by clicking the button below or reach out to a consultant at https://canidium.com/contact/.