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Target Practice

Sometimes, the key to landing a sale lies in clearing away the obstacles that can make you miss the mark.
August 1, 2003
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/63342

Recently, I had a conversation with Rich Machowicz, a former Navy Seal, martial arts black belt and the author of Unleash the Warrior Within (Marlowe & Co.). He explained to me that he prefers to substitute targets for goals. As a Seal, he always had a specific, tangible target he was trying to hit.

Many times, however, various obstacles got in Machowicz's way, and he had to clear them before he could achieve his objective. As long as he kept that target within his sight, however, he could get over, under, past or through any barriers that might present themselves.

The same kind of concept applies to sales. Think of every sales deal as a specific, tangible target. Sometimes, to hit your target, you have to simply clear away the clutter that can get in the way of your path to success. Here are five practical and effective strategies to do just that:

1. Clean house. If you're like most people, you're probably overloaded with mounds of paper--on your desk, in your files and in your briefcase. It's time to clean up. Clear your desk. File or throw out anything that is not of immediate concern. Take care of everything else immediately. Always keep in front of you only those things that are of top priority.

2. Stop selling and start signing. It's possible to sell yourself out of a sale, and that's what will happen if you don't focus on how to get the deal signed. Ask the customer "What do we need to do to get the purchase order signed?"

3. Create a hit list. Keep a list of your most important "targets"--prospects and customers--in your wallet and on your wall so they're constantly on your mind. That way, even though you may not be consciously concentrating on them, you'll discover new ways to reach them.

4. Build a critical path. This is a visual reminder of your target and the connections needed to reach it. Write it down, and look at it often. It will probably have a hub in the center (representing your target) and spokes coming out in many directions (representing the key means of moving forward). This kind of visual will help you stay focused and determine the best path to success.

5. Gather your resources. Do you have everything you need to make the deal? Is your product as good as it can be? Are you at the top of your game? Make sure you have as many resources as possible to give you the confidence you need to achieve your objective.

Remember, to hit the target, you must clear away everything that's in your way so you can go straight for it. You're going to have to make sacrifices. Your belief has got to be as strong as if your life were on the line. Once your belief starts faltering, everything else will come down with it. Learn how to push yourself, and ignore that voice inside that says you can't do it. In the meantime, keep your target in sight and your aim true, and you will succeed.