Renting a car while out of town is a great convenience. What did we do before that? So, as I was letting the top back on my silver Mustang, I proceeded out of the rental parking area.
When I came to the first intersection, it hit me like a real punch — I had no idea whether to go left or right. I had no map and no direction.
Of course, when I went back to the sales office, the attendant pulled out the map that was the shortest and best route to the location. She used a bright yellow magic marker to make sure that I got it — she could probably see that I could use all the help I could get.
On this particular trip, I would be driving down a coastline. And theoretically, without the map, had I gone right I would have driven into the ocean. Had I steered left, I could still be wandering around those sandy avenues. In other words, the map was not only convenient and efficient while driving, it was vital as to time and destination. It hit me that it is also vital in the sales profession.
As an insurance manager (at the time), this lesson seemed like a good learning/teaching experience with our agents. Many of them were new to the sales business and were very inexperienced about the need for a track. As I shared the car experience and lack of direction, one of the agents said that this lesson could probably benefit from an acronym. He volunteered the perfect word: MAPS.
Make A Plan to Succeed became our mantra.
When we get down to it, there really is no substitute for a plan. And, it will always be better when it is designed and executed on purpose rather than by accident. It is amazing what that one lesson did for a young group of agents and their focus, buy-in and direction. I have run into a few of them through the years, and some still suggest that lesson was a turning point in their career.
As a caveat, the southeastern director saw the effect and result of how this simple lesson resonated within our group. Consequently, he named a regional sales initiative after our branded acronym that was a remarkable success. As a manager, you never know when a turning point lesson could be tucked away under a unique experience?
Making — is the preparation, design and concept.
A — is focusing on the development one line at the time.
Plan — is the written product and executable document.
Success is the differentiator — none of the above counts if the plan and it’s execution is not built to succeed (to get you where you need to go-like the rental car).