I love sales and marketing. I studied a Diploma in Marketing straight after high school and my first real job was a telemarketing and sales team admin assistant kind of role at a transport company. Being part of a sales team introduced me to the world of targets and building up and maintaining sales territories.
My role was to book 6 appointments a week for our two Sales Reps. Our niche was very secluded and we had to battle against our sister company to get new clients. Every year, even if we didn’t meet our target, the quota was increased because we had to expand our client base.
But trying to meet our sales quotas when being undercut by other companies and being super selective on which clients we would take on made the job incredibly stressful and the targets hard to attain.
There were some weeks I got my 6 appointments and there were other weeks where I was lucky to book one even though I had done many calls and tried different marketing techniques on the phone. If people weren’t interested in what I had to offer, they just weren’t interested.
But there is always pressure within businesses to meet bigger quotas and attain larger profits. There is little effort in being better at the service that is offered.
It was a big eye opener for me when I started working for my dad over 7 years ago. Getting bigger and bigger every year was not part of my dad’s business strategy. Being better was.
My dad realized that there was a stage where he could comfortably manage 20 or so plumbers and be happy to maintain it at a certain level. His goal was never to be the biggest plumbing company in Brisbane. His goal was to be better than the rest.
Interestingly though, when you focus on being better, your business naturally gets bigger because there is more demand for your services and price often becomes irrelevant. This is what I found with our plumbing business. Our builders knew they would get good service and good service would come at a price we set.
What made my dad well sought after was not just because he provided great plumbers. It was because of the extra work he did when it came to the paperwork side and every project manager can agree that the paperwork trail is a nightmare. Especially when you have to chase it from 20 different trades for the one project. My dad was generally proactive in providing the paperwork before being asked.
So when I look at businesses making bigger targets and expecting their reps to reach higher quotas, the one thing that needs to be asked is how can we be better at what we’re doing, not bigger.
Have you been in a job where you had to meet a certain quota? Did you always meet it? What did you do when you didn’t meet the target?
‘Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.’
Booker Taliaferio Washington, American Teacher, writer and speaker. 1856-1915
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