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⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️
The average person makes 35,000 decisions every day (Psychology Today). When I look back across my entire career, making good decisions was a key trait for climbing the sales ladder and eventually retiring from it at 42 as a multi-millionaire to start running my own one-person business.
Today’s system is about using a simple framework from one of my favorite books, Essentialism, to help you make better decisions each day.
Read time: <5 minutes
Your earnings are impacted by your decisions
“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it is a clear no.” – Greg McKeown
Everywhere you turn, there is something vying for your attention – a barrage of social media notifications, the email from your manager, a complaint from a client.
What takes priority?
A big skills gap I see with the hundreds of sellers I work with is their ability to decide what’s truly important (or better said, valuable) and what’s not. Understanding what to take action on and where to focus your attention can be the difference between a strong year or missing your number, or the difference between moving into an ideal role or one that puts you on a fast track to burning out.
After reading the book Essentialism (I can’t believe it took me this long to finally pick it up), I resonated with everything the author, Greg McKeown, lays out in it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the book, in essence, it’s about the disciplined pursuit of “less, but better.” For today’s system, I’m going to focus on one of my favorite chapters, number 9: SELECT – The Power of Extreme Criteria.
Let’s break it down, and I’ll share a powerful framework you can use to make big decisions in your career and life.
The 90 percent rule
In this chapter, McKeown shares a story about how he and a colleague needed to select 24 people from a pool of almost a hundred candidates to join their “Design Your Life, Essentially” class at Stanford University.
They scored each candidate on a scale of 1 – 10. The 9s and 10s were obvious shoe-ins, while they agonizingly evaluated the 7s and 8s. That is until they decided to apply the 90 percent rule. It’s the idea that “if something (or in this case someone) is just or almost good enough – that is, a 7 or an 8 – then the answer should be no.”
It’s a liberating concept.
In fact it’s from the same design thinking principle I used for my Diamond Account Hunter Framework, which was to identify the best accounts from my named strategic account list of 50. By filtering out and prioritizing accounts that had specific criteria that was meaningful to me, I knew I had a better chance of bringing together my specialized knowledge to close bigger deals faster.
And it worked!
I moved accounts like Apple and Walmart off my list because I knew as a new logo hunter, I wasn’t going to be able to get high enough and move fast enough in those accounts. Sure, I could have closed a small “starter package” with mid-level executives, but in the same amount of time, I knew I could close a 7 figure transformation deal if I went down the Fortune 500 list and focused on accounts where I had specific industry knowledge and ability to connect high up in the org.
As McKeown puts it: “Mastering this Essentialist skill, perhaps more than any other, requires us to be vigilant about acknowledging trade-offs.”
By understanding the trade-off of potentially winning a huge Fortune 10 logo, I knew I could be freed up to apply my skills in a way to close bigger deals with smaller companies, and in a much more repeatable way.
This was a key driver to being able to close $50M in TCV ($27.3M ARR) in net new business and producing multiple 7 figure earning years in less than 48 months.
McKeown goes further to say: “The benefits of this ultra-selective approach to decision making in all areas of our lives should be clear: when our selection criteria are too broad, we will find ourselves committing to too many options. What’s more, assigning simple numeric values to our options forces us to make decisions consciously, logically, rather than impulsively or emotionally.”
You may also like: A Better Way to Choose Your Next SaaS Sales Role
How to be selective, explicit, and also right
“What may seem like a capricious decision is really the result of a disciplined and continuous approach to figure out what works and what doesn’t.” – Greg McKeown
FOMO is the real deal – I get it.
But if we just say yes because it’s an easy short-term reward, we run the risk of having to later say no to a more meaningful one. Long-term thinking is necessary.
To elevate yourself to selling multiple 7 figure deals, earning 7 figures a year, or being in a position to retire early from corporate selling – you’re going to need a good system in place to make high quality decisions.
Here’s a simple, systematic process McKeown outlined in the book:
– First, write down the opportunity
– Second, write down a list of 3 “minimum criteria” the options would need to “pass” in order to be considered
– Third, write down a list of 3 ideal or “extreme criteria” the options would need to “pass” to be approved
By definition, if the opportunity doesn’t pass the first set of criteria, the answer is obviously no. But if it also doesn’t pass 2 of your 3 extreme criteria, the answer is still no.
Sign up for Notion, duplicate this template, and try it the next time you have a tough decision to make – a new account, a new role, or a new project – and see how much more confident you feel with the decision.
That’s a wrap – see you next time!
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1 | Unlock the 7 Figure Seller OS
This combines the 7 Steps to 7 Figures system along with a membership to our Make More Hustle Less Club where we put the system in action as a community.
2 | Book a 1:1 coaching session right now
You can book a 60 minute strategy session with me here.
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