Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Chris O’Byrne.
“Begin with the end in mind.” -Habit 2 from Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
I recently turned 50, and I found myself asking the big question: What is my end game in life? This led to thinking about my end game in other areas, including my business. We may think briefly about our business end game if we do an initial business plan, but after that we become too wrapped up in day-to-day details to give much thought to the big picture—just as we do with our life in general.
I recently started a new venture as a result of asking myself what knowledge and experience I wanted to gain over the next year. Since it is always better to learn from real-life examples, let me tell you exactly what this venture is and what I’m planning for my end game.
Real Life Learning
I currently run my own business, which provides self-publishing services for coaches, speakers, business authors, and other creative giants. My business has done well, but as I focused more on selling and marketing while allowing my team to handle services, I realized that I wanted to learn a lot more about selling. I’ve read many excellent books on the topic (heck, I’ve even published some of them), but nothing beats hands-on experience. That’s when the idea hit me.
I needed to find a job that not only trained me to be a great salesperson, but also forced me to sink or swim. That meant a commission-based sales position. That meant car sales.
I got a job at a local car dealership and found that I was going to receive three months of training. Score! After that, I will continue to train and gain experience for as long as I work there. That’s when I realized what a bonus this form of education is. When I attended college, I paid thousands of dollars for a little bit of practical knowledge. Now I am going to be paid thousands of dollars for a whole lot of practical knowledge. At the time of writing this, I’m only two weeks into my training, and I’ve already gained practical knowledge I can apply to my publishing business.
Applying Real Life Learning in Other Areas of Your Life
One of the first things I learned in my sales training was to build value. It’s not that your prospective customers need to “be sold,” as much as they need to be assured of the value for which they are potentially exchanging their hard-earned money.
This week, a potential publishing customer asked me to send him a price quote for my company’s services. I usually send a short list of services with the accompanying prices, but this time I discussed each service in a short paragraph and showed him the benefits that each service would provide. Seems pretty basic, but somehow I had been bypassing that step in my sales process—and probably losing a lot of sales along the way.
I’m glad to report that my newly learned method of discussing value worked. Not only did this prospect become a customer, but he was excited and told me how much he appreciated learning about how much we provided. I realized that learning better sales techniques is not about manipulating customers, but about helping them make decisions based on better information.
Being Clear on Where Your End Game Will Take You
My end game for this car sales venture is to receive as much sales training and practical sales experience as possible and to measure my success by the number of cars I sell. It is not my end game to become a long-term car salesman; I’m an entrepreneur at heart and need to be more in control of my work life. My end game is to gain highly useful experience, get paid for that experience, and then use that experience to grow my own business.
I suggest that you start planning your end games, not only your end game in life, but all the end games along the way that lead to a satisfied and successful life—for you. If you are currently working for someone else, what is your end game? Are you content to do an excellent job and help to grow someone else’s business (nothing wrong with that), or are you using that steady income to plan a different end game?
If you are a solopreneur, are you content with providing high-quality services and enjoying the freedom you have, or do you plan to hire other contractors to perform the work while you grow your business?
Determine your end game and start planning. (Click to tweet – thanks!)