HOW do we know what’s important and WHERE to go?
Let’s say we are a sales consultant who wants to double the number of vehicles we sold last month. We’re ready to do the work, and we have a clear, measurable goal in mind. These two elements are critical to our success, but there could be obstacles in our mindset that, if not corrected or avoided, could derail our plans.
My Theory of 5 mentors and I have found there are some common “mental pitfalls” that we probably will encounter whenever we decide to build new skills or reach for new heights. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to avoid these traps. But first, let’s look at three pitfalls that we’ve may have all encountered.
Pitfall No. 1:
Expecting to Go from Zero to 100 Instantly
It’s good to be excited about a new goal. That initial enthusiasm is the fuel we need to rev our engines and get on our way. The challenge comes when we don’t temper our expectations and have unrealistic views about what we’re going to accomplish.
Just as you wouldn’t decide you need to get off the couch and run after years of not running, and then attempt to compete in a marathon within the next week, we shouldn’t expect to reach our long-term goals immediately. The inevitable disappointment could rob us of any forward momentum we might generate, and could even push us backward or tempt us to give up altogether.
This is not to say our goals shouldn’t be ambitious. We should be looking to stretch ourselves and set the bar high — that’s what has to happen if we want to grow and reach levels of success that others only dream of. It’s important to understand that, in addition to putting in the effort that others won’t, it will also take some time and tremendous dedication. We won’t reach the summit of our ultimate goals without putting in the time. If we do, those goals weren’t set high enough.
Pitfall No. 2:
Getting Lost in the Weeds
To say that today’s world is filled with distractions is an understatement. No matter how clearly we see our goals and understand the steps that will be needed to reach them, interruptions will always be nearby. Family needs, socializing with friends, watching the latest hit movie, work drama and any number of other disruptions will compete with the time we’ve set aside to reach our goals.
While some of these distractions can be avoided, others can’t. If our child or spouse is in the hospital, we will need to be there. If there’s an emergency situation in the dealership, we need to deal with it. And we shouldn’t ignore our good friends and family — never showing up for social occasions will isolate us from the people we love. I’m sure none of us wants to be a successful hermit.
Still, all these activities are competing for our attention, and the things we know we should do to reach our goals can be postponed until things “clear up.” The reality, however, is that things will never completely clear up. That’s just life. It’s up to us to ration our time in a way that serves both us and the people in our lives, based on our values and goals.
Pitfall No. 3:
Not Engaging in Perfect Practice
If you spend four hours a day practicing the guitar, over time you’d expect in time to see progress, improvement and perhaps even a degree of mastery. But what if you didn’t have a clear understanding of the chords, and were playing them wrong the entire time? You’ve put in the time and effort, but you won’t get the results you’ve been working toward.
The adage “Practice Makes Perfect” is inaccurate. As legendary coach Vince Lombardi pointed out, “Only Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.” If we’re practicing and rehearsing with bad information or poor form, we’re only reinforcing the wrong behavior.
The Solution to Avoiding Pitfalls
During our journey to reach our goal, it’s important to break it down into achievable milestones, and to develop processes designed to achieve our eventual goal.
Remember our ultimate goal of doubling our sales in the dealership? To accomplish this, let’s say we will do seven things to reach this goal:
1. We will make more calls to generate more leads.
2. We will improve our sales strategy.
3. We will double our walk-around videos we send to customers.
4. We will follow up with internet leads, walk-ins and unsold customers until they buy from us or someone else.
5. We will ask all our sold customers for referrals and prospect on a daily basis.
6. We will have an end date in mind to reach the goal.
7. We will plan and complete our daily activities.
So, what kind of processes will we put into place to do these seven things?
We will decide how many calls we need to make and how long it will take, and then structure our day and let people know that, unless it’s an absolute emergency, this time is sacred to us.
We will work with our leadership or top-performing peers to critique and improve our sales presentation. They will see things we are doing — or not doing — that will positively influence the way we resonate with our customers. We will also set aside time to study our products so we are able to answer any question our customers might have.
We decided that our end date to reach our goal is three months. That’s enough time to put new systems into place and see what works and what doesn’t. It’s close enough, however, that we’ll feel positive pressure to do the work and achieve our objectives.
It’s also important to note that, for perfect practice, it’s important to surround ourselves with top performers, and to avoid the negative people who are generating average to below-average results. Those who are around us will affect us — either positively or negatively.
The specific processes and motivations that work for us might not work for everyone, and that’s fine. My Theory of 5 mentors and I believe we just need to be deliberate in the systems we put in place so that we produce continuous new and daily improvements. By breaking our goals down into ambitious but achievable tasks, we’re avoiding common mental pitfalls and setting ourselves up for steady, measurable and — ultimately — incredible success.