By Christine Beckwith
What would you say if I told you that most plans fall apart by April of each calendar year? I am sure you wouldn’t be surprised. Like you, we all set out with great intentions for a bolstering new year filled with un-accomplished past goals, personal promises, and lofty dreams; but, often we fall short of our daydreams because of many rectifiable reasons.
One of the greatest things I ever had happen to me was to be invited to an event at NY Radio City Music Hall that was featuring a lineup of the most incredible human beings on earth, including many professional business owners. Rudy Giuliani, Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Colin Powell, and many more–you get the picture. Each of their businesses was so different and yet, as each of them took the stage, they told harrowing stories of success, from tribulation to triumph. None was more touching than a day spent in the life of Rudy Giuliani and his morning of 9/11.
What did they all have in common? They believed in a core set of principles on planning. These principals were a blueprint for success. So, I left and went right to work writing my very own “Blueprint for Success,” which would feature seven core philosophies. Since then, I have been teaching this blueprint to sales employees for over 15 years with remarkable success. Here is what these philosophies cover:
- Simplify your plan! Do not fill out a complicated, hard, or impossible to follow plan.
Create a simple income goal and then look at your current income YTD. If you’re in sales, figure out how much you did to make that current dollar amount and then divide it by the number of transactions you had. That’s your “operating income,” and you then can back into your goal and measure what you need to do to get there.
You can take this as many layers deep as you would like. For instance, the next layer is measuring how you got the transactions and understanding your ROI on marketing efforts. The next layer would be referral partners and measuring how many you need to feed your engine.
- Map out your daily activities.
Many people do not realize how much time they are putting into non-income related tasks. You need to be focused on prospecting 80% of your time, and you need to build in time for spontaneous interruptions, but not allow those interruptions to send you sideways and completely derail your whole plan.
Plan for tweaking and regrouping daily. With focus, you can master this renewal each day that truly provides a clean slate for your mind. Exercise and diet are crucial here because it is my belief true success comes with health and focus, neither of which can be obtained when you’re sick or distracted. Consider mental health as well, and address any issues you may be facing such as depression, divorce, loss, etc. You must be strong to stay on course for success.
- Account for obstacles and hurdles.
Write down what may be foreseeable obstacles and prepare a solution. Don’t lie to yourself here. An effective way to do this is to think of past failures, what they were and be real about it. Once written down, apply your solution. Only YOU can prepare for your own sabotage or excuses. Successful people plan for hiccups, and they adhere, adapt, evolve, and react in a way that has them thriving even in the worst of situations.
- Measure what you plan for!
There are three known ways to measure plans. A) Compare month-to-month progress of your own actions and results. B) Compare yourself to your averages on your teams. This is the watermark, and you should be at the watermark, not below it. If you are below it, you better be new and growing. If you are a veteran salesperson and are below the average, something is wrong and you need to tweak. Finally, C) measure how you size up against the number one guy/gal on your team. What are they doing great? Learn, ask, watch.
Whatever you do, do not hate the top producers around you. Jealousy is an innate thing, but it’s the destroyer of self-advancement. If you want to beat your competition, then you first need to size yourself up against that person and then probably adopt some or most of what they are doing and jump in. Top people are not top by mistake. You may sell in a unique style, but ask about hours spent, number of referral partners, ROI on marketing, efforts, what type of marketing, etc.
In closing, every day is a new attempt to move yourself forward. Plans and goals are not reached in leaps, but many steps strung together. Have a good team around you that knows your new goals, anchor your plan publicly by sharing with your key stakeholders (family, friends, peers and managers), and, more than anything, be willing to work outside your comfort zone. If you are comfortable, you aren’t growing. As soon as you get comfortable, move the needle forward.
Christine Beckwith is a 30-year mortgage industry veteran who has broken many glass ceilings and blazed a trail for many female professional generations to come. This year she was featured in the 2017 Mortgage Professional America magazine as one of the top 75 women in the mortgage industry.