by Tony Vidler
some things are timeless simply because they have stood the test of time, and focusing upon sales activity is one of them. “Sales activity” as a concept is probably abhorrent to many professionals today, but it is simply about managing the inputs which provide the outputs that your business wants.
It is easy for us to be busy, but being busy on the right things requires ongoing focus and discipline. That can be achieved by creating the right habits, and the right habits can be created with a little bit of gamification.
The peculiar thing is that some of the best “gamification” existed before that word was invented. We can bring a bit of fun, friendly competition and recognition of the right habits by turning those requirements for the basic inputs into a bit of a game.
This matters because amidst all the change and exciting new ways of marketing ourselves and our business there is a tendency to lose sight of fundamentals that are critical to ongoing business success. There is a tendency for professionals today to try and forget that we do in fact have to be personally active in driving new business and new client engagements if we want our businesses to grow. We do not grow dramatically by building better financial planning mousetraps and waiting for the world to beat a path to our door simply because we have the best mousetrap. It just doesn’t work that way most of the time in professional services.
So there is merit in the very simple concept of staying focussed and busy on the day-to-day activities that generate business results. We can to a large degree control the inputs. The problem is that while this is effective, it is also boring. After all, the basics are mundane…they are, by definition, there every day…..they are repetitive and therefore easy to lose interest in or ignore and push to one side as there is no sense of urgency about the basics.
But here is a hard truth in professional services: Every morning we begin the day unemployed.
Our challenge each working day is to produce value for clients which in turn will generate revenue for our business.
Knowing this, and being motivated to do achieve that, are quite different things.
Introducing a “game” structure that creates the focus on basics can create motivation, and can be used as part of internal incentives, friendly competition and camaraderie, staff management, or a host of other things that lead to increased focus on the basics that drive the business forward. The rules for any good game are that they are relatively simple, easily understood, and that you are able to keep score quickly and easily. It is also important that the score is triggered by the actions that determine your state of progress towards an end result.
When you combine the motivation and mood that a game can create, together with some discipline or processes, it can become a powerful package.
As an example, here is a wonderfully simple system that spun out of the old Frank Bettger concept of “seeing the people” from back in the 1930’s (yep…you read that right). It is a simple system whereby all the client-facing advisers have to achieve 20 points per day….and from a gaming, or internal challenge and motivation perspective there are dozens of ways you can use the scoring system for reward and recognition, or management of key areas.
20-a-Day. Twenty “points” per working day in basic client activity will mean that any practitioner can’t help but put themselves in situations where they can create “value” simply because they are putting themselves out into the market and creating conversations with clients and prospects. If any of us put ourselves in enough client interviews and contacts – create enough conversations – business opportunities will present themselves if we do a thorough job of fact-finding, analysing and recommending solutions.
There are numerous other disciplines and practices that a good adviser develops, many of them quite sophisticated. But the most expensive computerised presentation programme in the world, or series of flip-charts, or whatever, simply don’t work until the adviser gets into the position of having someone to give the fantastic show to.
So make a game of creating those opportunities to create conversations!
1 point per call to create new engagement
1 point for a client appointment made from that call
3 points for having a client meeting/interview (fact-finding or presentation does not matter)
5 points for generating revenue from a client meeting/interview (fee income, commission, brokerage, etc)
Examples of how it works in practice:
e.g. 1. You might have 4 interviews in a day all resulting in revenue, hence 20 points. A good day indeed.
e.g. 2. No meetings scheduled, but you make 12 calls/client contacts, resulting in 8 appointments for next week. A good days work too.
e.g. 3. (More typical?). 2 client interviews, one resulting in revenue. (Total 8 points). 9 calls made (9 points), and 4 appointments made (4 more points). Days work – 21 points. An excellent day!
Such a system works even if its amended a little, such as a total target of 100 points per week, or maybe a little less (say 70) if you have practice management duties as well.
You do not even need a multitude of players. This is a game you can play against yourself, and your previous days’ (or weeks’) score. Build some recognition and reward in there for achievement of the goal.
It creates focus and discipline, and great habits that lead to repeated success.
Set yourself the challenge. Try it for a month. Then check out how the results are looking….you won’t be disappointed.