When Planning Traps You

To plan or not to plan?

That is the sellers question.

Can you boil down solution salespeople into two types? The planners and the unplanned?

Those that diligently plot out how to get to a goal, set against those who fly by seat-of-the-pants, all spontaneity and improvisation?

Perhaps that's a little simplistic. Yet consider this following quote. I recently read it under a clickbait heading, 'how come half-a-million people are lining up to watch paint dry?' The Dutchman responsible shares 'slow tv' style video updates of his painstaking renovation of a remote Italian alpine cabin.

“I try to focus on the moment all the time. Planning traps you. Arriving at a goal is only exciting in the short term. At some point my home will be finished, but that won’t last. That’s why I enjoy the journey so much.”

Martijn Doolaard strikes Sales gold here.

It is in part due to the subtle yet fundamental nuance between planning for a particular goal, and a type of systems thinking towards repeatable success of a process.

What's the technical difference between a plan and a process?

Well, in Enterprise selling it is for me that a plan may get you that once-off, standalone hit, but only your process will deliver time and time again. (Not your faithfully followed 'process' of that expensive training vendor, mind you.)

It's the difference between a discrete and the recurring result.

All while being adaptable to the vagaries of the market. For as the ol' warning goes; no plan survives first encounter with the real world. Something for which I would argue a true process - that pattern of events which when in train practically guarantee you'll prevail - is way more suitable. And explicitly designed for.

I was particularly struck by one of his observations, after what sounds like restructuring the upper floor;

“From time to time one job makes a world of change to the property. Letting the light in the basement was one of those.”

A similar success that sheds light on your entire business awaits us too.

Also note how the 'winning' of a single 'deal' yields only fleeting glow. Whereas the crafting, maintaining, and constant adapting of a process provides forever fuel.

As one interviewer - so clearly pushing at my wide open door - surmised; "Doolaard focuses on process, not outcome".

And that, as I have so often blogged here, is a basis for superstar sales performance. The systems-over-goals trope may have taken bump or two lately, but for us in the B2B persuasion pursuit, it steadfastly remains the pure, lasting, guiding standard.

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