Process Drives Results

A few years ago, I decided I needed to lose some weight. To me, the process was simple: focus on calories in versus calories out. I used my Fitbit tracker and the MyFitnessPal app on my phone to coordinate those two data points. Simple KPIs right? 

The results were outstanding. Down 32 pounds in a little over a year, I looked great, felt great, and got to buy a bunch of new clothes. But underneath it all, I knew there was an issue. Sure, I had lost a lot of weight. But was that the right goal? I wanted to be healthier, and healthy weight is a big part of that picture, but when I took a look at some of the means I had taken to get there, I didn't like what I saw.

I was expending more calories than I was consuming, sure, but the calories I was consuming were not the greatest. So while I was definitely lighter on my feet, I can't say that I was as healthy as I wanted to be. My focus on the results helped me to accomplish the goal, but those results were not sustainable, so I couldn't really consider the endeavor successful.

Sales is a results-oriented game, so that's usually where you focus. It’s easy to assume that if you set a goal and accomplish it, then the steps you took to achieve it were right. That's a poor assumption.

I talked with Mike Simmons from Catalyst Sale about this, “The quick fix does not equate to long-term results. Sure, you can lose five pounds to fit into that suit for a family wedding next week, but you haven't addressed why that suit doesn't fit anymore."

Maxims like "work smarter, not harder" encourage the kind of shortcut-taking that undermine sustainability and your ability to deliver consistent results. Vanity metrics and SEO tricks have something in common—they are a smokescreen trying to cover up for a lack of output. Dig just a little deeper, and the ruse is discovered. When the results become the sole focus, the underpinning foundation gets overlooked, and shortcuts become very attractive options. Perspective gets lost in the spirit of the chase.

You can focus on your Google rankings, or you can do work that is worth Google noticing.

You can pay attention to activity metrics that make you look good in your CRM but don't actually drive pipeline growth or revenue.

Or, you can understand your sales process and work through it because you know the difference between busy and effective.

You can hustle all day long (while somehow also having the time to tell everyone about it), or you can put your head down and do work that matters, regardless of what it looks like.

Without context, your pitch doesn't mean anything. Without a foundation, techniques are less effective. Without a process, consistent results are much harder to come by. What good is a closing technique if you don't understand why people buy? Try hitting a target reliably and consistently without a routine. Mike said, "It's like shooting in the dark."

So what is your definition of success? Delivering on an objective once, or with regularity? A sole focus on results rather than process often leads to the former, and not the latter. If you eat right and stay active, your body weight will stay lower. If you prospect regularly and ask for next steps, your revenues will stay higher. Trying to short-circuit these truths is where things often go awry. I mentioned this last week, your process remains one of the few things in business that you can control, so invest your efforts there, knowing that the results will come, instead of the other way around.

You'll make sure that suit fits for the next family wedding too.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash