Winning Isn't Everything
Mistimed predictions. 9/10/2019 | Roger Burnett, CAS, The Burn
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I closed 86% of the deals I was competing for in August, but I still didn’t make my number.

I’m sure that comment immediately stirred a thought or emotion in you. Some people most likely started trying to solve the issue mathematically - did he not have big enough orders? Others might have judged me - what a loser, can’t even make his number. Yet, I suspect more than a few of you are wondering - what exactly created that kind of situation?

If you’re like me, I keep a dashboard of sales statistics that I use to assess the health of our sales organization. One of the biggest metrics we study is the movement of opportunities through our self-identified stages of what we perceive to be the client sales journey. We’ve established benchmarks for what the aggregated potential sales totals should look like at each stage, so as to ensure we have the best chance possible to make our numbers. The dashboard gives me a way to get an at-a-glance look at things.

By sales day 10 of August it was clear we were headed for a downfall at month-end, but there was precious little I could do in the days left in the month as I looked at our opportunities – too many of them were too far away from their natural close dates that any efforts I might make to accelerate the process could be seen as manipulative, or worse, pushy. Instead of taking that risk, I laced up my skates just a little tighter, made the extra calls necessary to pour some gas on the sales fire and we managed to make the month a profitable one, even if it didn’t match our goal. 

In investigating the numbers, the real reason behind the shortfall revealed itself, and we’ve revised our sales plan for the rest of the year to reflect how the pipeline of deals has changed in August and into September. What appears to have been a loss on paper is actually a steep jump in opportunities moving toward completion – they just happened to occur differently than we anticipated and our predictions weren’t wrong, just mistimed.

If you’ve not established the type of metrics I’ve mentioned above, if you don’t review weekly where you’re at with each of your opportunities and clients you have going and if you’re not including your supply chain and service partners in those discussions, it is infinitely more exhausting, stressful and far more difficult to grow your business. If you need help, please reach out to me directly as I’m happy to share more about our process and how you might adopt some of the same principles.

Roger has spent 20+ years making complex concepts more understandable for both buyers and sellers alike, and has devoted the majority of his recent career to injecting purpose via philanthropy to his sales and marketing efforts. He’s intent on making the world a better place and his nirvana exists at the intersection of Mission, Passion, Profession and Vocation. He loves the outdoors and seeks memorable experiences whenever possible. Contact Roger at or 810-986-5369.

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