Managing Activities Not Results

Part of the process of making the new hire successful is to manage the activities. I have talked about prospecting and that is one activity. There is much more to do than just prospecting. We need to manage all the activities, especially of the new hire, but also of other team members.

In 1974, I designed a daily task and time management booklet that is a quarter of a year in each book. I designed it as a tool for myself as a new salesperson, but have since used it as a management tool with many dealers. The left side of the page is the things to do list and is the most important part of this book. To the left of this is an appointment matrix. At the bottom of that page is a box with several slots for existing customer follow up. On the right page is a lined list of so many mail outs, so many phone calls, in person contacts, presentations/demonstrations, write ups and finally sales. This book is a great management tool to help manage activities. There are spreadsheets that the manager uses to record the number of items achieved in each category each day. You will be able to tell in a very short period of time what is being or not being done. Of course, as I recommended in the last few posts, you will need to supervise your new hires closely in these activities in the first few weeks either by you or your assigned delegate. Should you want to try these, they are available here at the bottom of the page: sales activity management books. I would be happy to help you with how they work.

It doesn't matter what tools you use as much as that you have a good way of measuring and tracking activities. I have learned over the years that though people want you to, you really cannot manage results, but you can manage activities that ultimately produce results. Focus on the activities and the results will come naturally. This is one of the most important lessons in sales management I have ever learned and it didn't come easily. It was like an aha! experience once I finally got it. You can manage activities. That is what you need to manage.

You will want to continue this basic approach for a long time. My activity management book system above covers a whole year. You may even want to continue this longer. If you can see that your team member is doing the activities, then the results should be there as well. The results are the indicator of the activity. If you see the activities over a period and the results are not there, it could be an indication of some needed refresher training, or some coaching. By staying on top of what is being done, you will be able to reap better and better results. Without it, who knows what is going on? I see many dealerships where everything is on autopilot and I see very little thought to managing activities in this way. This is how I am absolutely certain that we can produce results when we go into a store because we set this system up first. It will serve you the same way.

How can you increase your business in this market today? Increase and expand your activities that have a tendency to lead toward a sale. Keep track of the activities and watch their relation to results. You probably already know that on average after so many demonstration rides and or presentations, that an average number of write ups is a result, and after a certain number of write ups, that an average number of sales is a result. Use that information to judge the results of your team. If it is not happening according to your best knowledge of results after efforts, check into it. My real point is that many haven't got a clue because they are not keeping track of the activities. When you keep track of them over time you can visually see patterns that you would never see without that system. That pattern is important for you to see as quickly as you can, that they are successful or they are not, and you can do something about both of those.

Bottom line: manage activities. See that there is a sufficient number of activities and that the quality of the activities is improving over time along with the expected results. Keep track of the daily, weekly, monthly activities so you can see patterns easily. Since my system is in a spreadsheet, you can create graphs very quickly that will clearly show you the patterns. I guarantee that your sales will rise according to your management of the activities and your staff will stay and increase in their value to you.

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