⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️
In this edition, we put a spotlight on why subscribing to the traditional activity-driven approach to selling is causing stress, unhappiness, and for a lot of sellers, missed targets. Instead, I’ll show you exactly how to graduate to an impact-driven approach, which will provide a much more sustainable and satisfying path to success.
→ Read this in <7 minutes right now
→ Learn how the activity game is holding you back
→ Implement a simple framework to help you shift to the impact game
Most SaaS Sellers Are In The Activity Game (And Losing). Here’s How To Graduate to The Impact Game (And Thrive).
To say I had to learn things the hard way is a bit of an understatement. The first decade of my professional career looked like this:
- Age 22: College dropout as a socially anxious introvert.
- Age 26: Constantly hustled (day job as an Account Manager and a 2nd job at night as a DJ just to pay the rent in NYC).
- Age 28: Filed for bankruptcy.
- Age 32: Landed in the hospital with a mini-stroke.
Some wounds were self-inflicted. Others, not so much.
Over time, however, I did learn how to work and live in a more harmonious way. I unsubscribed to hustle culture that was so pervasive in SaaS sales, and instead, adopted a more human-centered approach to my work.
The catalyst to this approach was embracing design thinking, whereby I chose to develop a system of personal operating principles and frameworks focused on making an impact on all areas I encountered.
And what an impact it made:
- Age 38: Paid off my house in full.
- Age 39: Reached the 7 figure earners club for the first time (and repeated 3x in a row).
- Age 41: Able to purchase a 2nd place in downtown Chicago.
- Age 42: Retired from the corporate world to become a digital creator.
All the while, I got serious into cycling, averaged 7 hours of sleep each night, and took more vacations with my wife than I ever had.
The problem with the activity game
I have been vocal on the issues facing most SaaS sales teams today, but unfortunately, most refuse to let go of the tight grip they have on operating the old way.
An activity-based approach stems from 3 main culprits:
- Fear. Constant pressure from the top doesn’t make it easy for leaders to have the time to experiment with alternative approaches.
- Data. Activity is easy to measure and create incentives around.
- Overwhelm. A lot of leaders are simply ill-equipped to manage high-performance teams and revert to old ways of thinking when there’s simply too much on their plate.
And as an individual contributor, you’ve seen (and likely have felt) the side effects of an activity-based approach:
- Weight gain
- Addiction issues
- Relationship troubles
Build a structure for more impactful work
The first step to this journey was creating a structure for how I could up-level the important things I relied on to make an impact every day.
It came down to focusing on 3 core layers, which I call the Hierarchy of Elite Performance:
🧠 Improve how you think: After working with a top performance coach a few years back to overcome imposter syndrome, I learned that my outcomes ultimately start with changing my thoughts. That’s because circumstances → thoughts → feelings → actions → results.
⚙️ Optimize how you operate: When I became a better thinker, I naturally started to optimize how I worked. I become much more aware and intentional with the 3 finite resources we have as performance-based professionals: Time, Energy, and Attention (TEA).
💎 Elevate your craft: As a strategic SaaS seller, I discovered I didn’t have a selling problem, but I was faced with a buying challenge from large Fortune 100 companies who wanted to transform their customer experience. To win deals in a timely manner, I needed to design better buying experiences for them.
Keep your personal wellbeing moving in the right direction
I learned that consistent routines helped me stay in a more observant, introspective mode at all times. And staying introspective allowed me to avoid the pitfalls of outward thinking (”If I had better accounts, I’d close more” or “I have to make President’s Club this year, or I’ll feel like a failure”).
This thinking only leads to a downward spiral of more negative thoughts on things outside of our control. This can easily be avoided by constantly asking yourself the right questions, like:
- What makes you unique?
- What’s your sales superpower?
- What’s one thing that would help you feel more satisfied?
- What’s your most important task, and when will it be completed?
- When do you schedule your first meeting, and why then?
- Work on weekends? Is it to catch up or get ahead?
- What is an hour of your time worth?
- Which customer deserves your attention?
- How can you get on a texting relationship with a top account?
“Ask the right questions, and the answers will always reveal themselves.” -Oprah Winfrey
The point of my routines was to become a better observer. When I was a better observer, I asked myself better questions. When I asked myself better questions, I naturally moved my wellbeing in the right direction. The model looks like this:
Create a trusted framework that helps you thrive
The last step was to create a simple framework I could always rely on when I needed help leveling up my performance.
I’ve shared the power of DFC in a different context in the past: Discipline + Flexibility + Curiosity, but here’s an alternative use for the acronym:
→ Define your view
→ Find facts (not opinions)
→ Create actions
Let’s put it all together so you can see the entire system in action and learn how easy it is to use to keep yourself on track.
Step 1: Start with an introspective question in one of the core areas you feel needs improvement.
Step 2: Decide where your answer falls on the wellbeing spectrum. Are you surviving or thriving?
In this situation, maybe you feel like you’re earning good money, but you know there is more room to grow.
Step 3: Apply the DFC framework to come up with a solid action plan to make the appropriate impact and improvements.
- Define your view by asking more introspective questions, like “how can I boost my next deal?”
- This will help you to Find facts (something that could be undisputed in a court of law vs your opinion of something), like “I must collaborate with clients.”
- This leads to helping you Create actions that are simple and impactful, like implementing a design session in every 3rd meeting you have with new prospects.
The old way would have been trying to solve this challenge with more activity. The new way seeks out impact, and that takes looking within.
See you next time!
- The activity game is where most sellers play
- However, it leads to burnout, frustration, and health issues
- It’s better to play the impact game. Heres how to play:
- Understand the 3 areas to improve: Think, Operate, Craft
- Ask yourself introspective questions to understand how you feel
- Use the DFC framework to develop a concise plan to improve any area you want
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
Get the exact system I’ve used to go from earning $200K to over $1M a year in SaaS sales without burning out here. (2,000+ students)
Join a community of Purpose-Curious™ sellers in the Make More Hustle Less Club where we develop a personal operating system together here. (300+ members)
Book a 1:1 coaching session to up-level your performance here. (Last few spots in August at 60% discount!)