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Monday, September 8, 2008

You Can’t Control Your Sales Results

You have a slow month and you feel bad. Your manager indicates that if you did this or that, you would have done better. These reactions are misplaced because they assume that you can control your sales results. You cannot. You can only control your sales activities.

You cannot make a client buy, you cannot make interest rates go down, you cannot make your clients’ mutual funds go up 20%. You cannot control your sales results.

You cannot control client procrastination, you cannot control terrorism, you cannot control that fact that a rich prospect’s brother-in-law is in the business and has his account. You cannot control your sales results.

You can control your sales activities and when you let that sink in, you will have fewer disappointments and you will have more energy. When things don’t go well, there’s nothing you can do about that. The only thing you can do is control your sales activities.

You can make 25 contacts a day, you can study for the CFP® credential, you can join a study group, you can read a book on portfolio construction, you can have lunch with a million dollar producer, you can set your minimum account at $250,000 but you cannot control your sales results this week or this month.

However, in the long run, there are activities that generate extraordinary results.

Unfortunately, most financial advisers will never wait for the payoff and will have changed their sales activities seeking an instant payoff, believing that they can control their sales results. When the sales results they want are not immediately forthcoming, they change their sales activities again, never realizing the payoff from the previous activities.

I’m reminded of Peter Lynch the great fund manager who had a simple outlook. He knew that in the long run, stock prices follow earnings. He invested in companies with growing earnings. Did he make money every year? Of course not. Yet he did not have any notion that he could control his fund’s results. All he could do was to research companies, do a through job, find companies with growing earnings and stick to all he could control—his activities. All he could do is sit with the knowledge that the right activities eventually bring extraordinary results. He of course, had extraordinary long run results managing Magellan Fund.

Next time you have some ridiculous notion that you could have done something to avoid a bad week or bad month or bear market, let it go. Just get in gear because in the long run, your sales activities are what you can control and the universe rewards appropriate activities.