Successful Sales Professionals Focus on Process, Not Outcomes

Sep 20, 2023 | Sales/Sales Training

By Joan Kelly-Kincade, Strategic Sales Advisor, Love & Company

Control what you can: Yourself, your attitude and what you do every day.

In senior living sales, we have goals that often are all we think about. We know what we want to accomplish. But sometimes the time we spend thinking and worrying about goals may keep us from reaching them. Yes, start with the end in sight. But then, think about what needs to happen to get you there. Focus on process.

To appreciate why focusing on process can change everything from okay to outstanding, it helps to change the way we think of outcomes and processes.

  • Goals are in the future.
  • Process is what we do right now.

Outcomes are things we often don’t control. We only control what we do to get there. This does not only apply to senior living sales. Successful people in every field recognize the importance of focusing on what is needed right now to achieve any goal.

For example, the award-winning actor Bryan Cranston said that his career took off once he realized this focus. After many auditions that did not end well, he realized he was focused on the goal of getting the part. He decided to shift to what he could control: He planned his auditions and executed every detail the best way possible. He said, “I only focus on things I can control. I wasn’t there to get a job. I was there to do a job. If I attached to the outcome, I was setting myself up to expect, and thus to fail. Once I adopted that philosophy, I never looked back. And I’ve never been busier in my life.” He went from okay to outstanding.

What Bryan Cranston found is that by focusing on outcomes, he created expectations to make something happen that he did not have total control over. This happens to us as sales professionals because we begin with the expectation that, if we can control enough of the variables, then everything will turn out the way we want. Of course, this means if things don’t go exactly as we want, we think we have failed. Cue the added pressure and stress! Wouldn’t it feel better to focus on each successful advance as part of a process that moves you closer to your next sale?

Instead of focusing on an outcome that we don’t control, focus on what can be controlled. Otherwise, we are relying on pure dumb luck. If this sounds familiar, this is something you can change. Instead of focusing on the outcome, focus on the following:

  • Myself and my attitude
    Ask yourself: Am I prepared to do what is needed, let go of what does not matter, and improve myself and the process a little bit every day?
  • What I do with my time
    Ask yourself: Am I focused only on the end rather than how to get there?
  • My understanding of why I do what I choose to do
    Ask yourself: What is my role, and do I completely own it?

Answering the first three questions honestly is not always easy, but the answers are always revealing. The answers are the beginning of understanding what matters most and what we want to do about it. The following questions show how much process is not something that happens in a silo. Just as reaching goals and positive outcomes is a team sport, processes affect more than the sales department. As a sales professional, what you control is your role in the process and how you view and execute it.

A good process means everyone is rowing to shore together.

  • Process: Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly planning and reporting
    Ask myself: Do I hold myself accountable to a clear agenda and clearly communicate during huddles and other meetings?Ask myself: How well do I balance being a team player so I am part of the solution and still have time to focus on my work?
  • Process: Contact management/contact prioritization
    Ask myself: Am I prospect-centered every day so that prospects feel special and view me as different than all the rest?
  • Process: Data accuracy/tracking/consistency/timeliness
    Ask myself: Do I consistently and accurately track all leads and activities in the CRM?

Asking yourself these questions moves the focus from what you want to happen to what you will do right now and how you will do it. Even though all the above examples demonstrate the far-reaching effects of each process, the questions and answers are focused on what you control in your role as a senior living sales professional. The added good news is anything we intentionally focus on tends to improve. Not only are you more likely to reach goals when you focus on the process, but you are also more likely to do so with increasing effectiveness because you and your process continue to improve over time. This means you are working smarter, not harder.

It’s not about perfection. It’s about consistently improving.

If we focus only on sales outcomes, we create pressure and stress that do nothing to support the chances of sales success–especially when much of what we stress over is not anything we can control. Instead, control what is possible. Each process you implement is 100% under your control. And process requires practice, and practice means you improve.

As senior living sales professionals, we all start with the end in sight, just as Bryan Cranston does. He started with the end in sight, but then chose to shift his focus when he realized that there was no shortcut to reaching his goals. He said, “I was looking for a shortcut. I thought, ‘How can I circumvent the struggle so that I can get to where I want to be?’ The answer is you’ve got to go through it, and you come out of it much stronger.” As a sales professional, focus on the process, not the outcome, and shift your senior living sales from okay to outstanding.

Want to explore these ideas further? Give us a call and let’s plan a deep dive into what process and outstanding sales success means to you.

Latest Insights