Sales is one of the few endeavors where so much of the focus is on results. We celebrate the results that we achieve, winning new business and reaching and exceeding goals. These things are worth celebrating. But the progress towards those results often goes unnoticed, unappreciated, and underestimated, even though 1 always comes before 2.
The meeting with the dream client that has been locked down and served by your rival is progress worth noting. If a prospective client has been impossible to acquire a meeting with for 7 years, a meeting is the critical progress as it pertains to creating an opportunity.
The creation of an opportunity and your dream client agreeing to engage in discovery, collaborating on the solution that moves them closer to the better future they need and bringing other stakeholders into the conversation is progress. Engagement is critical, and it a sign that you are closer to producing results.
Your dream client inviting you to tour their business, meeting executive leadership, conduct a whiteboard exercise with members of their team, visiting one of your clients with you, calling to check your references, putting all the decision-makers in a boardroom to view your presentation and ask you question, or scheduling a call to ask follow-up questions indicates progress. The outcomes that indicate progress are the milestones that you passed through on your way to producing results.
Because there are outcomes that occur all along the path to results, the outcomes are worth noticing and appreciating. Each outcome that results in progress are worth planning and executing well because they are important—and often critical—to producing results. When you pay attention to the outcomes that produce results, you increase the likelihood of producing those results.