By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
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This week’s episode is entitled “How to Start 2020 the WRONG Way” and I banter with our MC and friend, Paul Roberts. Football does come up, but we also talk about 2020.
Don’t go into the holiday period and into January 2nd without a plan, without knowing what your objectives are, without knowing what you are going to be focused on. What are you trying to achieve? What 12 months from today, does success look like? And what are the key things that are going to get you there? Knowing what that plan is, at least going into the storm. Knowing the storm is probably going to try to tear it to pieces, but having that plan up front, if you don’t have some semblance of that, it’s going to be very hard to start the year off on the right track.
Listen and/or read all about it below for this and more.
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Paul: Hey, it’s that time again. Time to grab your board, jump in the wake, swim out and see if he can catch a wave that’s a starting to catch up there as the sales pipeline starts to curl before your very eyes. With the man who makes it curl each and every week. It makes my toes curl each and every week. Matt Heinz.
Matt Heinz: Well, let’s hope that that sales pipeline is cresting right now as we finish. It’s the last month, the last quarter. It’s the end of the year. If you’re on a calendar fiscal year, this is it.
Paul: This is it.
Matt Heinz: This is it. And it’s also the reason why a lot of companies have made their fiscal years now February through January. If you’re in sales, right? Like you’re trying to close out the year in the last two weeks of the month. Basically, everyone’s like, “Nah.”
Paul: It’s Christmas. Come on. It’s a holiday. It’s funny, we just had somebody on from a Goldmine CRM and he was calling in. He’s on a plane trying to make that last push right before the close of business this week here. And I thought, what a horrible thing to be trying to do to get anybody to pay attention to you. Much less buy anything from you the last two weeks of December.
Matt Heinz: Well, I mean those are two different things though, right? I mean there’s getting someone to close and then there’s getting someone to pay attention. And I could argue that if you have something compelling, people might be more likely to give you some attention, now. If you’re trying to get a complex deal through right now that isn’t already basically in the bag or committed, it can be difficult because you have a lot more members of the buying committee that they’re now potentially out of the office and-
Paul: They’re distracted. They’re somewhere else. They’re thinking of something else. The holiday parties tomorrow here. Yeah.
Matt Heinz: No it’s done. I mean, a little bit of an advantage for people this year is that Christmas and Hanukkah actually line up quite nicely. They’re the same week and that doesn’t always happen, but we haven’t met this year at least. That said, especially office settings. You have people that are taking some time off but also working and for the time that they are working, if they’re working between Christmas and New Years or especially when you’ve got a weird year, like this year when you’ve got Christmas and New Years in the middle of the week.
Matt Heinz: So are you taking the beginning or end of the week off? Are you working those days? If you’re working those days, your calendar is probably lighter. So are you more likely to respond to an email? Are you more likely to actually attend that webinar.
Paul: Ah, I see.
Matt Heinz: Are you more likely to read a little more of that blog post? My experience says yes, where a lot of marketers will say, “Well, let’s avoid the end of the year.” Honestly, we’re doing our last newsletter of the year. We’ll go out on New Year’s Eve. We always do the last Tuesday of the month. Every year there’s a discussion of, should we do it earliest differently? It’s always the best read newsletter of the year.
Paul: Really. So does it to start off, it was the night before Christmas and all through the funnel, not a something was … I don’t know, I can’t think of anything that rhymes with the funnel here, but a not a mouse was stirring even …
Matt Heinz: What rhymes will funnel?
Matt Heinz: We’ll have to figure that one out.
Paul: That’ll be our next challenge for next year.
Matt Heinz: I was going to say, thanks everyone for joining us. Another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. We went right past the pleasantries and talking about unique sports, college football. The hat that Paul is wearing that I thought said Michigan hockey and actually says Michigan honors.
Paul: Yes, I was an honor student. I graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan. Who’d know all these many years later.
Matt Heinz: Three years of doing this. I never would have guessed that.
Matt Heinz: That was a bad joke, that came out wrong, but I wanted to thank everyone for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.
Paul: Well, since you brought it up, I have to bring up two sports things. So it’s kind of the end of the year lasting, I have been waiting a decade now for Michigan, the University of Michigan to beat our archrival Ohio State. We’ve been waiting a decade, a decade. We used to trade every year when I was a kid and when I was in college in the 70s and even into the 80s. Now it’s been a decade since we beat our travel. So as, we head into the new decade. In two weeks, we’re going to not only turn the calendar on another year, we’re going to turn it into another decade. It starts with a new number.
Matt Heinz: Oh, well if you want to talk about Michigan football. I mean it’s one thing to say we got the new decade to try to beat Ohio State, but before we even get there, you have to face a pummeling from Alabama. Who is pissed that they’re not in the playoffs right now.
Matt Heinz: I’m looking forward to that game. I mean, Michigan is a good football team. Alabama’s obviously good football team, should be entertaining. I’m hoping it is not one sided. Fun to watch.
Paul: It’s generally been in those bowl games. When a U of M gets involved, I don’t understand, and I was reading an article, it said, Michigan doesn’t have really, probably doesn’t have a hope of ever catching Ohio State or the other programs because it’s a more elite academic school. And it is therefore harder to recruit and get these college athletes to go through. I don’t want to go to Harvard. I want to go to the big school that gets me the big bucks when I graduate one, and I sure don’t want to be doing anything other than football when I’m there.
Matt Heinz: It’s interesting. I think that there are certainly schools that have more stringent academic requirements, even of student athletes than others. I don’t see a school like a Michigan or Ohio State losing prestige as both a great academic school as well as a great football school anytime soon. But dynasties come and go. I mean I could argue that we’re going to see a little bit of an unraveling of Alabama over the next couple of years. I mean, Saban is not going to last there forever. So we’ll see what happens. I would argue that although Ohio State has had a really strong season this year, that is because of Urban Meyer’s set up and his recruiting. And so there’s always a little bit of a halo effect when you’ve got someone that takes over for a great program like that and we’ll see if they can continue that.
Paul: See if they can continue it. Well, then the other one since you want to jump out of college into … I’m the curse football fan from, U of M. Think about where else my allegiance lies. I was born in the state of Minnesota, so I feel like for some crazy reason I, God gave me the Minnesota Vikings as my professional football team. One of two teams that has only been to the Super Bowl there four times and the only other one I could claim two would be Detroit where I spent most of my youth after we moved from Minnesota. And there one of two or three teams, never even been to the Super Bowl here. So what have I got to look forward to? I’m getting older on here, man. I only got how many more decades left here? I got to win one of these programs here. I got to notch one on my belt here.
Matt Heinz: Yeah, I was with you until about four years ago when my Cubbies won the World Series. If I don’t see another one the rest of my lifetime, I’ll be upset, but at least I got to see one.
Paul: At least I got to see one. That’s the way I feel. That’s my bucket list. People say what’s your bucket list? I’d love to see one of my teams I’ve been rooting for since a kid when the Super Bowl, honest to God.
Matt Heinz: That’s a legitimate question that came up in one of my favorite college football podcasts and apparently we’re not going to talk about sales today.
Paul: We will, we’ll get into it.
Matt Heinz: No, don’t worry about it. So the question came up, I said okay, there are blue-blood college football programs.
Matt Heinz: At this point up here to be like every year, right? You’ve got the Clemson, you’ve got the Ohio State, you’ve got the Oklahoma’s. Alabama’s still in that conversation.
Matt Heinz: If the chance of winning a championship are limited to a single digit number of teams, what are the rest of the teams playing for? And someone [crosstalk 00:07:25] on the podcast that if you are not a blue-blood team, then you shouldn’t even be thinking about the National Championship. Does that mean that you’re basically not rooting for your team to win?
Paul: Well, I’ll tell you, as a longtime Michigan fan, spent many years living there and then went to the college there. I was always amazed that we rarely rooted for the National Championship. That was not what determined whether the program is a success, whether people turned out, whether the coach got rehired. It really was, if you beat your rivals in the Big 10, if you beat particularly Ohio State. And so there were games where they could have gone for the win or they could have done something dramatic to try, and go for a National Championship and let’s just beat Ohio State. Let’s just hold on and beat Ohio State here today. And I think that mentality has shifted. I don’t think it’s that regional or small time, but maybe it is in many of these other conferences. Maybe you just want to beat your cross town rival.
Matt Heinz: Well, I look at historically for my University of Washington Huskies. Winning the conference was a big deal. Beating the Washington State Cougars was at least as big of a big deal. And winning the conference was important but mainly because you want to go to the Rose Bowl. The goal every year wasn’t for some college football playoff, which didn’t exist. It was and quite frankly still is get the Rose bowl.
Paul: So you can go down in the warm weather and celebrate. And part of that was the same with us. We just wanted to get the heck out of frozen Michigan here. So everybody wanted to win, go to the Rose Bowl here, but now even that’s gotten complicated. Now, you win the conference and you might go to a National Championship, a play off instead of going to the Rose Bowl. It’s very confusing to me.
Matt Heinz: Well, and I found out this morning what used to be called the Bahama Bowl.
Paul: The Bahama Bowl.
Matt Heinz: Well it’s good. It’s in The Bahamas, which makes sense. I think it’s played Friday night or something this coming Friday night. Tomorrow night. What used to be called The Bahama Bowl is now the Maker’s Only Bowl. And so I had to look this up. Like makers only. What is that? First of all, like you confuse it with Maker’s Mark. It’s not a bourbon.
Paul: That’s what I thought, yeah.
Matt Heinz: Makers only is the slogan for a business park outside of O’Hare airport in Chicago. They sponsored the Bahamas’s Bowl.
Paul: Wow. Wow.
Matt Heinz: I know.
Paul: Well I think Matt Heinz Marketing should be sponsoring a bowl. That’s what I’m looking for.
Matt Heinz: The Heinz Bowl. We should start a Heinz bowl.
Matt Heinz: It’s going to be played here in Redmond, Washington in the high school football stadium.
Paul: Well let’s circle back as you did have an interesting topic and I just took you far field here. I found it interesting every time this year people want to do the end of the year wrap up. What happened last year? You had a different take, give me your title because you’re not saying here’s three things to do and four things we learned this past year. You’re kind of giving us a cautionary tale. What was your title for today?
Matt Heinz: Well, I what I was thinking on this one in a addition to making fun of college bowl games about sponsors. How to start 2020 the wrong way. We have a lot of these like year in review, doing recaps of things and then like we all feel good about ourselves. And then they say, “Oh, what am I going to do for next year? What are my resolutions?” Well, sometimes I learned as much from the worst practices as the best practices and to know what are the yellow flags and red flags I should be looking for and what are the things that I maybe have or haven’t done in the past that more consistently lead to bad performance. I thought that might be more interesting to cover.
Paul: Because we’re always trying to come into a new year, new day, turn the page, everything is starts new again. Maybe not, maybe we’ve got some old practices here. Maybe we’ve got some ingrained things that are just like the University of Michigan football team that there must be something more ingrained in it. The 10 years they can’t win here.
Matt Heinz: Well, I could argue, I mean, look, if it’s only two weeks until the end of the year anyway.
Matt Heinz: But if you’re sitting at the end of November and you’ve got a month left to go and you’re creating your 2020 resolutions, if it’s a resolution for 2020 that you’re not willing to start in December. How important is it really?
Paul: You got to wait two more weeks to get that. This is really important-
Matt Heinz: I really want to get in shape and so I’m going to start working on January. It’s like, what about how now?
Paul: Yeah, good point. I want to fix my company, I want to change my life. I want to improve my personal appearance and by God, give me two more weeks and I’m ready to get started here.
Matt Heinz: So I think that there’s four things I’ve been thinking about, if you don’t have these in place or if you haven’t done these, then it’s hard to really establish momentum and results early in any period of time. Whether you’re doing that at the beginning of a new year or whether you’re doing that at the beginning of a new quarter or whether you’re just doing that on Monday. I think the first one on my list, it’s hard to start 2020 successful if you don’t have a plan, if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s been a long year. We’re all tired. If you’ve had a great year. You worked hard and you’re tired. If you’ve had a bad year that’s draining and you’re tired and there’s parties. There’s eggnog, there’s all kinds of good food, like it feels good and you should feel good taking some time off. But if you wake up on January 2nd or in this case, maybe you call it January 6th, because maybe you take the long weekend and you just go back to work and start doing your email again. Just start responding to other people’s priority. That’s a recipe for just falling into the same reactive mess that you may be in today.
So if you don’t go into the holiday period and into January 2nd with a plan, knowing what are your objective, what are you going to be focused on? What are you trying to achieve, what 12 months from today, does success look like? And what are the key things that are going to get you there? Knowing what that plan is, at least going into the storm. Knowing the storm is probably going to try to tear it to pieces, but having that plan up front, if you don’t have some semblance of that, it’s going to be very hard to start the year off on the right track.
Paul: I’m going to do that next year. That’s my resolution. I’m going to get a plan next year.
Matt Heinz: So you’re going to take a gap year.
Paul: Yeah. I’m going to red shirt, I’m going to red shirt my business here. Yeah, we’re going to take a year off.
Matt Heinz: And look, to be honest, I don’t have any problem with that. I mean like I’ve got a friend who has worked her ass off who has built an amazing business and she’s taking a sabbatical. She’s been on a sabbatical for a while and she’s taking time off of work just to kind of reset in a number of ways and there is nothing wrong with that. If your plan is to take some time off, if your plan is to just go off in the mountains in Nepal and just do your thing and come back and figure it out in March, that’s not bad. No one else can tell you your plan is wrong, but that becomes your plan. If your plan is a gap year, then that’s your thing. If you say, look, I’m just tired. I just don’t want to work anymore, I want it … That’s not a plan. You’re going to feel guilty for the things you’re not doing.
Paul: Yeah well, I’m feeling guilty already that we’re not playing a second commercial here and that’s why I’m feeling guilty.
Matt Heinz: Well, when we start, we start by making fun of business parks in Chicago land time does fly. So Davey, David who’s listening live today. I apologize, we’ve gone off the rails, but we were to take a quick break, pay some bills. We’ll come back and we’re going to talk more about a couple other things I think are really important ways to start your 2020 off on the right track. This is Sales Pipeline Radio.
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Paul: All right, we’re going to a slash back to the conversation here. I just have to comment, every time I hear that commercial. I love it because I’ve actually been to Elegant Themes. It’s a great place to buy WordPress themes for sites and stuff and so I think it’s a great. There’s something you can learn from, if you want to put a testimonial for companies that other people actually like and have used, that totally, totally reinforces your message. Hey, they’re doing it. I should too.
Matt Heinz: That’s right.
Paul: I love that spot. So what else can we do to plan? Take a year off. I want to relax. I want to enjoy the holidays for once. And you want me to already have a plan in place to hit the ground running January 3rd.
Matt Heinz: Yeah, and these aren’t just things that are just like here’s what Matt thinks. I think that I feel like when I talked to people that feel like they get off the rails into a new year, when they feel like they have to do some kind of a reset. Sometimes they’re like, “I wish I would have done X. I wish I would have had Y in place.” And so these are four things that I hear and the first one we talked about is having a plan. And if you don’t have a plan going in, then you don’t have confidence in what you’re doing. You don’t have a foundation to focus. You don’t have a means of being able to say no to certain things. And I think a function of the plan is knowing your priorities, is knowing what is most important to you.
And we can all spend 24 hours a day doing work, doing important work, doing things that seem worthwhile and never get everything potentially that we want to get done, done. So knowing what your priorities are, not only helps you focus, but it also helps you know when you can say no and be comfortable saying no.
Paul: That’s it. I was trying to butt in there. Saying no. It is so hard to say no. Let’s say you’re a business, okay any business. We are only going to do this. We’re going to focus on these kinds of accounts. We’re going to do this, we’re going to focus in this direction, this product, whatever. And somebody else walks to the door says, “Hey, I got some money here. Will you do this? Sure. What the heck.” Or whatever version of that you want to say. We’re not going to spend much time and effort doing this, but here we are doing it again. If that’s saying no, I think it’s the hardest thing to learn in business. I suffer from it. It’s hard to say no to money. It’s hard to say no to emergencies. It’s hard to say no to time off. It’s hard to say no to so many things.
Matt Heinz: It is, and I think oftentimes we are afraid of missing out.
Matt Heinz: I’ve heard people say no because they aren’t confident in what they have said yes to. They haven’t taken the time to commit to what they’re saying yes, based on their priorities, based on their plan, based on what they’re trying to achieve. And therefore when you don’t have those priorities and can’t say no to things, then you feel overwhelmed, again.
Matt Heinz: Simply if all you did, forget to do lists, and I’m saying this somewhat facetiously, but I’m trying to make a point. I am a big fan of the getting things done system by David Allen. I’ve got my projects, I’ve got my broader lists, I know the things I want to get done. I do this every day. Every day in the morning I write down what are the two to three things I need to get done that day. And before I write those two, three things down, I write my goals. I write, I literally write down the same goals I wrote down yesterday and the day before and a week ago because these are my 12 month goals.
Paul: Do you pull out a pen or do you just pop it into a computer?
Matt Heinz: Nope, this is a handwritten journal that I use and so I will write down and without getting into it, I have three goals that are 12 month goals and there are numeric goals. That are professional and personal goals and underneath that-
Paul: And one of them is to host a bowl for Heinz marketing. I know that.
Matt Heinz: To basically, to replace the Chicago Business Park-
Paul: Yes, as the lead sponsor for that to bowl. Absolutely.
Matt Heinz: The Bahama Bowl sponsored by Heinz Marketing.
Matt Heinz: So that’s on the list.
Matt Heinz: So if I’ve got those three things listed, what are the three things I need to do today that are going to most closely and most efficiently help me get towards that? Those are my priorities for the day. Not all my email, not everything else that might come at me, but those two or three things. So being-
Paul: I wish I could say I did that. I think too often I just have a list of to do, which is the Smokey the Bear school of things. Where’s the forest fires sprouting up and I’m going around stomping out little fires all day long. I want to get to those bigger goals, those longer goals. But geez, I’ve got immediate needs right now. I got to answer this email. I got to get this out. I’ve got to go buy something. I’m out of ink. I got to go do something today.
Matt Heinz: Yeah, and this isn’t an argument against being opportunistic. This isn’t to say that you’re going to start ignoring all of your emails from now on, but if all you do is put out those fires. Like I could argue your inbox is a fire. Your inbox is everybody else’s priorities and other things they want from you. And you can make yourself feel really good by having a shorter inbox. By getting everything off your plate and you could get nothing done. You could make zero progress and then all of a sudden it’s the end of January and you’ve done that for a month and you’re nowhere closer to whatever those goals and priorities are that you’ve set for yourself.
Paul: Right, right.
Matt Heinz: Right. And this is related to like if you’re trying to hit a sales number, like you’ve got a big sales number you need to hit with these complex deals, that’s not a one day thing, but what can you do today to get closer to those deals? To get yourself closer to your goal.
Matt Heinz: So the number one thing if people aren’t successful is when they don’t have a plan. Number two is not knowing their priorities, which allows them to say no. Number three is not knowing and setting your limits.
Paul: We have limits. We’re super people. I’m Superman, there’s no limit, 24 hours a day. I’ll make 25.
Matt Heinz: Good for you. I’m not. I’m literally sitting in my office right now. We’re doing Sales Pipeline Radio. I’ve got my adrenaline going, which is good because I have a cold. Like I feel terrible right now. And so I’m like, I got a couple more things I got to get done and then I literally thinking about going home and taking a nap.
Matt Heinz: Like the new Star Wars movies out tomorrow. We’re taking the whole team to see the Rise of Skywalker. I cannot have a cold tomorrow because I need to go watch Star Wars.
Paul: I agree.
Matt Heinz: But I think my point on this is, is knowing your limits and knowing what you are willing to do to get to something. Knowing how much work are you willing to do to get to something and when do you want to just go home? When are you going to prioritize other things in your life?
Paul: My dad was a very successful executive for Chrysler Corporation. Rags to riches. Started off, then his son became a vice president for Chrysler Corporation. Back in the days when you could do those kinds of things and a couple of times the smart alecky stuff. A kid would say, “You were the vice president. Why weren’t you ever president? Did you ever want to be president of the company?” And he looked at me, he says, “You’ll learn.” He said, “There’s some point in your life when you, when you look ahead at what it takes to go that extra step and you decide it’s either worth it or it’s not the things you’re willing to do. What are your limits? Your personal limits.” And I think that’s true of sales staff. I think that’s true of employees. Everybody. We think we’ll just throw some more money at them and then I’ll push them one step, one step. At some point they stop. They’ve reached their limit, their personal limit.
Matt Heinz: If you know what your priorities are and when I say setting your priorities with the number two on the list, it’s not just your professional priorities. It was like, what do you want in your life? Is there any priority? Do you have a priority around health? Do you have priority on spending time with your kids? Do you have a priority around spending more time at a beach house? Like whatever that is. If those are your priorities, that can be used to help set your limits.
Paul: Yeah, right.
Matt Heinz: That can be used to help say, I’m only willing to work this much time. Let me give you another example how this works. I have been bad at doing this in the last couple of years, but for a period of time I made a deal with my wife and my kids. I said every Tuesday and Thursday night when I get home, I am putting my phone and my computer away. From the time I get home Tuesday and Thursday until the next morning. I am not working. I’m not touching my computer. Do you know how much more productive that may be during the day?
Knowing that I could not do email at night, that I couldn’t just be like, “I’ll finish this later, I’ll finish this after dinner.” Knowing that my limits those days-
Paul: I put limits on clients. I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but I tell them there are certain times do not reach me. I’m not going to respond unless it’s the fire. Absolute emergency once a year, 100 year earthquake that comes, I don’t want to be heard on, for me it’s Sunday afternoons. Sunday is just not a day I’m going to respond and people still try, and press it and say, “I need this first Monday. I got to do this.” I say, “You should have told me that Friday or tell me that first thing Monday.” And once I set that and you stick to it, that’s the hard part about sticking to boundaries is it’s sticking to them because everybody wants to … Well this is an exception. Come on, it can’t be this week. You’ve got to do it right now.
And I think that you have to find those. And, yet, like you say, I become more productive and manage the relationships better because I’m not just constantly reacting.
Matt Heinz: Yep. And the last thing on the list because I know we’re running out of time here.
Matt Heinz: So I’ve got things that are keeping you from hitting your number or sort of being successful 2020. Not having a plan, not knowing your priorities, not knowing and setting your limits. And number four is when you don’t prioritize yourself because you could have priorities and limits and you can have all of those parameters relative to your company. Relative to your team, relative to your family. But if you don’t prioritize yourself, your health, your time, your wellbeing, you will not be productive and be your best self for those objectives, for those priorities.
Paul: And that’s key isn’t it? It starts with your personal productivity and your personal habits.
Matt Heinz: I mean if you’re sacrificing yourself for others constantly in relativity to your time, relative to your sleep, relative to your health. Like where are you … How does that create longevity for you in your career professionally and personally? And it’s look, the longer I do this and the more mistakes I make the more this becomes not only a priority for me but something that I see as really key to people at various stages of their career, of their lives. Just make sure you prioritize yourself. The more you do that, the more time and passion and effort you will have for other people that matter in your life.
Paul: Well, and the other time I’ll add to that is number five because you should always have five is make time to listen to Matt Heinz on Sales Pipeline. Because that should be a priority number one there because you will take a break, you will laugh, you will learn, you will listen and maybe you’ll learn to step back and look at things without racing through them so quickly.
Matt Heinz: One can only hope. One can only hope. Well I know we’re out of time. This has been fun. We have covered your collegiate achievement. We’ve talked a little about college football bowl sponsorships. Hopefully a little bit of lessons to help people get on the right track of 2020 but we’re unfortunately out of time. We will be back next week and every week, Thursdays at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern. But for today, for my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks for joining us for another episode. Sales Pipeline Radio.
Sales Pipeline Radio is sponsored and produced by Heinz Marketing on the Funnel Radio Channel. I interview the best and brightest minds in sales and Marketing. If you would like to be a guest on Sales Pipeline Radio send an email to Sheena.