Five words consume your every thought as you think to yourself, “I should have seen it coming!” But you didn’t.
Another sales forecast missed for the last reporting period and the revenue you thought would come in, simply didn’t. Instead, what came was the CEO’s invitation to meet with her about last quarter’s shortfall.
You were going in prepared with the four economic shifts affecting the whole industry that resulted in last quarter’s missed forecast. You rehearse the four talking points in your mind:
1. Tight budgets
2. Competitive landscape
3. Shifting consumer trends
4. Longer buying cycles
You are not only prepared, but convinced that these four areas are commonly understood and accepted conditions that the CEO can take to the board as the reasons for the continued declines.
As you walk into the CEO’s office, you notice the subtle, yet noticeable change in her disposition. Whereas recently, frustration ruled the day, today is different. You think to yourself, “Is she distracted? No, not distracted, but melancholic…or is that disappointment? Yes, disappointment. Or perhaps its…”
“Chris,” she says for the second time, interrupting your thoughts. The CEO wastes no time in delivering those five haunting words…”We are letting you go!” It’s funny how, when caught off guard, your mind goes to the strangest places. Instead of presenting your defense, you suddenly realize in a moment of clarity that she only uses “we” when “WE are having a good month”…or when “WE have to let someone go.” With the recent sales shortfalls, there has been no “WE are short of projections,” that’s for certain.
The rest of the 5-minute discussion–monologue, actually–is a blur. All that remains are the five words rattling around your head that you just can’t seem to shake…”We are letting you go.”
In the following days, you are less shocked by the decision as you knew this was a distinct possibility. What has really rattled you though, is that you remember the day you went from being the company’s ‘Golden-child’ to being incapable of hitting a single sales forecast for 6 consecutive months. You hadn’t done anything differently, and had kept the intensity high with your team, but you had no idea what truly caused the sales decline. What happened?
Sound vaguely familiar? Thanks to a colleague sharing his story, this likely has a healthy dose of realism for a few of you. While the end of the story may be different for you, chances are you have had a change in the business environment in which you were no longer producing the same results that came easily only a quarter earlier.
The common question is, “What contributed to the sales decline?” The more appropriate question is, “What contributed to the success in the first place?”
Let’s be honest with each other for a minute. We ‘sales and marketing types’ are an interesting breed. For many of us, we are quick to claim it was our doing when things are going well. When performance declines, we are quick to look for, and point to conditions that created the performance issues. “It certainly wasn’t my fault!”
For these exact reasons, this website was created to help the executive level leaders down to the front-line reps ‘Succeed on Purpose!’ That’s right, succeed on purpose – an operating philosophy and principle I developed over the last two decades. In other words, it is the process of creating Intentional, Predictable and Repeatable Success. Watch for my book, ‘Are You Creating Repeatable Successes?,’ in the near future.
I encourage you to not only be a reader and consumer of the concepts, methodologies and recommendations, but also a contributor. The incentive? First, it is better to give than receive. Secondly, for a select few that contribute meaningfully to the discussions and posts, I may very well use you as a contributor in my book…only with your written consent, of course.
Jeff Michaels is a Sales & Marketing Executive that has worked with executives, leaders, & teams for 25 years to create repeatable success regardless of industry, economy or circumstance.