“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life happens in the gaps. It is in the space between notable moments. It is not the destination, but the journey that defines your life. I believe that happiness is found in being present in each moment and grateful for what it offers.
Similarly, in your career, the gap is where the magic happens. It is the time between mastering one skill and mastering the next. The fun and excitement are in the process of acquiring new skills and making things happen.
If you are unhappy in your career, you are likely not enjoying some level of progress. Perhaps you have stalled your personal expectations — you are complacent with what you have. There is a way to solve that.
the act of identifying the difference/space between where you are and where you want to be
Grab a piece of letter-size paper and a pen. Place the paper in landscape — so it is wide. On the left side, write down where you are in your career by answering these questions:
- What is the geographical location of your sales/clients?
- How many sales you complete per year (on average)?
- What is your average sale price?
- How often do you reach out to each past client?
- What skills have you mastered?
Now, on the right side, write down the answer to these questions:
- In what geographic location would you like your business to be focused?
- How many sales would you like to complete this year?
- What would you like your average sale price to be?
- How often should you reach out to each past client?
- What skills do you need to master to accomplish all of the above?
The space between the left side (current position) and the right side (desired position) is the gap. Some people see this as a scary chasm — I don’t. This is where the magic happens. You can use the gap to find the best direction for your future efforts, and this is how:
- While you will likely still get clients coming in from lesser desired geographic locations, you can “point the ship” with your outreach efforts. If there is a town where you would like to do more business, spend more time there. Do some community outreach. Spend time/money on marketing to them.
- It is likely the number of your desired sales is higher than your current sales. This means you need to talk with more people. Try this simple calculation: to yield one closed sale, the typical agent needs to talk to 50 people. So, join a networking group, go to local events, do some listening and relationship-building.
- If you want to increase your average sale price, learn market statistics for that segment. Then, find out what message is important for those customers. What does someone in that sale price think about, what concerns them, and what do they expect from you? You will need to speak to their priorities, and to exceed their expectations for presentation and service.
- Most people need to reach out to past clients more often. A few simple ways are to write them personal notes, call them to catch up, or to take them to coffee. This shouldn’t be seen as a sales call. The goal is to nurture your relationship with them.
- Skills are what allow you to make the most of each opportunity. A great time to learn new skills is when your business is a little slower. In New England, this is a very good time — since Mother Nature is piling the snow head-high.
Now that we know what needs to be done, we need to schedule the list of things you will do to bridge the gap.
- Create a plan for outreach to your desired market. Put each task in your calendar.
- Join a few selected organizations to meet more people and put the event dates in your calendar.
- Become a student of the market segment you want by conducting weekly/monthly market studies and publishing them. Set a repeating event in your calendar to remind you.
- Create a scheduled plan to catch up with past clients.
- Sign up for at least one class and/or buy one book to enhance each desired skill. Set a deadline for accomplishing these.
- I cannot emphasize this enough: make time in your weekly/monthly schedule for each of the items above. It helps to meet regularly with a partner — a business coach or an accountability partner — to keep you on task.
This is how you get from where you are to where you want to go. It is also how you can reignite your passion for your career.