The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 23, 2008 • Issue 08:06:02
Dump perfectionism, do reality check
||The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.|
By nature, most ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) are go-getters. In the rough and tumble payments industry, sales reps have to be hard on themselves to meet quotas and make a living.
Under constant time pressures and needing to always be at their best, the feet on the street expect to close every sale and give every merchant his or her undivided attention - to make the most of every minute of every work day.
Although aspiring to perfection is a noble goal, none of us will ever attain it. We are human, after all, fallible and mistake prone. It is impossible to meet all our goals all the time. By setting unattainable objectives, we set ourselves up for failure each and every day.
Take a look at your goals
Examine your professional expectations. Chances are you could use a reality check. After all, setting and reaching a goal of a 50 percent increase in residuals over a year's time is better than setting and falling far short of a goal of 100 percent growth.
What follows are examples of unattainable goals and their more practical and attainable counterparts:
#h4 Unattainable: Eliminate unproductive habits
No more lunches with friends. No more mid-morning coffee breaks or afternoon walks to fight off the post-lunch crash. That's all time wasted that should be devoted to making sales. Only leave the office for work-related events and eat at your desk whenever possible.
#h4 Attainable: Take appropriate breaks
If you eliminate all break times from your day, the only thing you will become is a grumpy worker. Respites are necessary for your physical and mental well-being. Allow yourself a break now and again.
Limit coffee time to five minutes. Take short afternoon walks, and leave the cell phone behind. Monitor when and how often you feel the need for a relief, and identify stressors that sap your time and energy.
#h4 Unattainable: Learn everything about your merchants
Learn something new about as many merchants and industries as possible each day.
#h4 Attainable: Take advantage of learning opportunities
Setting daily goals can be a good idea, but not in this case. Your educational goals need to be time-sensitive and very specific. Resolve to learn something monthly or weekly, and set up ways to achieve that goal. For example, schedule time to read a white paper, register for a webinar or plan a lunch with a merchant to talk about what is happening in his or her business and industry.
#h4 Unattainable: Always be happy and calm
I will always be pleasant and never get stressed or irritated with co-workers or clients.
#h4 Attainable: Manage stress better
Life and work bring stress, and it is only human that we aren't always the best at managing it. Set a goal to identify what triggers stress.
When you've identified what irritates you or causes you to lose your composure, you will more than likely see it coming ahead of time. Then, you will have time to either excuse yourself from the situation or take a deep breath before reacting.
Take small steps
Striving for perfection is not a bad thing. In fact, our industry thrives on hard work and perseverance and going that extra mile for our customers. We need goals to motivate us and help us achieve our objectives.
However, goals need to be realistic and practical. We need to make room for the mistakes that we will surely make. Most importantly, when we slip up, we need to forgive ourselves and move on.
But if we set realistic goals and then meet them, we can raise the bar a little higher next time. By getting better through small increments, we may one day attain that level of near-perfection we sought all along.
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