Security Business

MAY 2019

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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36 Security Business / / May 2019 Modern Selling BY CHRIS PETERSON Manage Distractions Six ways for salespeople to cope with today's hectic environment Within a few months of starting my first sales job, I sat down with my boss to develop a strategy. He walked me through a list of questions, starting with: How much money do you want to make next year? Once we determined a reasonable personal income goal, he walked me through each metric that would lead to that goal: commissions, sales amount, sales quantity, demo quantity, cold call quantity. Then, we developed a strategy – conduct 25 personal cold calls per day in my territory, and everything else would follow. The strategic planning session took 12 minutes, and that was all the creative work I needed that year…every other minute was spent executing. It is not the same today. In the current business climate, customers do not think they need salespeople, so salespeople must be imaginative to succeed. They need to develop solutions to a customer’s problems; write scripts and plans to get in the door of new accounts; tailor presentations that will engage audiences; and plan personal and social networking activity. It is no longer about throwing mud against the wall and seeing what sticks (by the way, none of it sticks); instead today’s salesperson must be clever, prepared and customer-specific. While today’s world demands imagination, it also suffocates salespeople with endless distractions and a perception that immediate responses are necessary. Here are six ways to help sales pros stay in “strategic mode” while still taking care of day-to-day customer demands: 1. Block off “strategic thinking time” on your calendar. No one – not even your boss – will remind you to spend time thinking strategically. Only you can hold yourself accountable to spending time creatively thinking, and the best way to do this is to block off time on your calendar. If something comes up, you can move your strategic thinking appointment to another day – but do not delete it. 2. Get out of the office. Do not conduct strategic sessions in a place surrounded by distractions. Go to a coffee shop or home office – anywhere that you can get away from distraction and sink into thinking mode. 3. Turn off all notifications for an hour. Email, social media, phone, text, etc. – turn all of it off. To keep yourself sane, check everything once per hour for important and/or urgent messages. If a message is not both important and urgent, address it later. 4. Get buy-in. Let your customers and boss know what you plan to do by telling them the times that you have blocked off, and that you will respond to all correspondence within an hour. In my experience, no more than three to six hours per week is needed for strategic thinking, so they will understand. 5. Schedule a recurring meeting with your boss. Unfortunately, many distractions and bottlenecks occur because of our bosses and their crazy schedules. To minimize these, schedule a recurring meeting in which you know the two of you will be able to discuss things and reduce surprises. 6. Perform creative work during creative time. I do most of my writing between 4:15 and 7:30 Friday mornings. I look forward to it. The 3:55 alarm hurts, but then I remember that it is my creative time and I happily get out of bed. When you need to be creative – not just strategic – pick a time in which your mind expands. For some, that is long after the family goes to bed; for me, it is very early on Fridays. What time is that for you? ■ » Chris Peterson is the founder and president of Vector Firm (, a sales consulting and training company built specifically for the security industry. To request more info about the company, visit

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