54 – February 23
“In any business, there are jobs that are productive and sometimes confrontational, for they test you. And then there is all the other work, none of which earns any money.”—Stuart Wilde
Wilde is talking about sales. Where there are no sales, there is no money. If you are in business for yourself, it won’t matter how good you are if you don’t have any customers. Getting and retaining customers must be high on your list of daily activities. Otherwise, you aren’t going to be in business for long.
In my seminar business, if I don’t “send out ships” to get people to attend the workshops, there won’t be anyone in them, and I won’t make any money. End of business. But since this was the most “confrontational” aspect of my work, I found I’d do just about anything else during the day. That’s what paperwork is for—it’s an excuse not to market your business. I’d reach the end of the day and feel like I’d worked hard, but stayed unconscious as to how many sales calls I’d made.
Then one day, I was complaining to a friend about working too hard and not making enough money. He asked how many sales calls I made each day. I looked at him blankly. “I don’t know, exactly,” I said. He only had to raise his eyebrows and I got the picture.
That’s when I invented the “Ships Log.” It is my daily record of my sales calls: How many times I dial the phone, how many people I actually talk with, how many appointments I make, how many meetings I go to, and how many clients result from all that activity. Before starting work in the morning, I decide my target numbers in each of these categories. Then throughout the day, I make hatch marks on my log to record my actual numbers.
Keeping track in this way does several things for me. First of all, it keeps me on purpose about my activities. It’s very easy to shuffle papers and talk on the phone (too long) and yet not make any sales. When I record the number of calls, I can see the effectiveness of my efforts as I go. By the end of the day, I know exactly how many sales I made, what income I produced and what it took for me to produce it. By consistently keeping track, I have statistics on the average number of phone calls it takes to make a sale. If I want more income, I can just make more calls. If I learn new skills, or improve the ones I have, the number of calls it takes to make a sale will go down. But I won’t know what’s working and what isn’t if I don’t measure the results.
When you’re diligent about counting your ships, eventually you’re counting your money.
“All my beautiful ships are bringing me fabulous money!”
I use a Ships Log every week. At the beginning of the day I’m going to make calls, I write down how many times I intend to dial the phone, how many conversations I expect to have (instead of leaving messages), how many appointments to meet or talk with someone I will set, how many networking meetings or appointments I have today, and then how many clients I expect to get in the “Target” section of the form. As I make calls throughout the day, I make hatch marks in the “Actual” column.
If you keep track faithfully, you will know exactly how many phone calls it takes to get a client. Then you multiply your actions to achieve the results you want!