How many ag sales reps forecasted a sales increase this year? All of them. How many will actually achieve that goal? Less than 5 percent. Why? Because the other 95 percent will not use the No. 1 secret to achieving their sales goals every year — the calendar.

After my first few years selling seed, I decided that working so hard to achieve my sales goal was either going to kill me, destroy my family, or both. I found that reacting to what someone else wanted me to do took me away from what I needed to be doing. I discovered that every day on the calendar that did not have my name on it, didn’t belong to me. It was free for the taking by anyone who wanted it, whenever they wanted it.

For example, a meeting would be called on a day that I had originally planned, in my head, to go out prospecting. Since my plan was not on the calendar, I went to the meeting, giving up an entire day planned for selling. Also, often a customer would call me with a problem and want me to come to see him. Since I had not committed that day on my calendar, I’d say yes. If his call wasn’t an emergency, and I already had that day planned on my calendar, I could have offered him a different day. Instead, I’d let him take that day from me.

Once I realized that the secret to achieving my sales goal was controlling my calendar, I never missed another goal again.

Before they start each sales year, why haven’t 21st-century ag leaders insisted their entire sales team possess a fully-planned calendar, filled with unchangeable actions designed to generate sales? Why haven’t they scheduled every meeting for the upcoming year that will effectively divert those field reps from selling before the selling season ever starts?

Ag sellers need to be protected from themselves. They have an aversion to planning their days, weeks, months or years in advance. I get all kinds of excuses from them not being able to plan, ranging from sudden changes in weather, to customers who have last-second needs. But there are no legitimate excuses. Time is not spelled t-i-m-e, it’s spelled m-o-n-e-y. They need to wake up and use the No. 1 tool to sales growth and profit — the calendar.

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