Every year at this time I fondly remember Steve Martin’s bit from years ago about the two simple little words that will allow you to be a millionaire but not pay any taxes. They are very powerful words, and can also allow you in media sales to get out of an uncomfortable one-on-one with your inquiring sales manager. If you know the bit, you know these two simple words: I forgot! I forgot to pay my taxes! I forgot to call those guys back! I forgot to answer that avail!
Now is the time I need that sarcastica font that everyone says I write in so often. Yes, it was a very funny comedy bit because it was just that – comedy! So think how YOU come off in your one-on-one when your manager says, “Whatever happened with that avail for that new jewelry store coming to town that required all of that brainstorming for the promotions? Where are we with that?” And you reply, “Uhhhhh, the buyer was on…..a cruise….and it got in a hurricane for two weeks…and…and…..she just got back this morning and I am supposed to call her right after this meeting!”
YOU are the comedian! In this case, “I forgot!” would be a better answer than the fiction you have weaved, but still won’t be acceptable. I used to think I was getting away with it when I was a seller and very creative in my answers, but realized when I became a manager that I had not!
When the IRS calls, in reality “I forgot” won’t work. Neither will it work in your one-on-one. Like taxes, a one-on-one can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it is inevitable. You’ve just got to do it! So, how can you turn a one-on-one into a situation where you will get a little something back?
- Remember your goals. Know you monthly goals for the next three months. Know where you are and know how you are going to get there. Make this top of mind each day. This is like having your W-2s and receipts ready to go when you start the tax process.
- Remember your top prospects. Where you are with them and what has happened? If you don’t have CRM and sales analytics software to track this for you, find a system that works for you and use it. This is like staying on top of what deductions you can take and having the necessary paperwork to back them up.
- Remember to look at your calendar. What did you not get to last week that you should move to this week? Use reminders so that things don’t slip through the cracks. April 15 is on the calendar at the same time every year, yet so many of us will be scrambling this week to get our taxes finished up. Be a good time manager.
- Remember to ask for help. When looking at the calendar, there may be something that your manager can help you with. They want you to get the orders, too, and are more than willing to give insight and advice. Accountants, Turbo Tax, and H &R Block are in business for a reason!
- Remember those two simple little words, “I forgot!” In other words, be honest. If you DID forget, be proactive and tell your manager what you are going to do to correct this oversight. Ok, this still may not work with the IRS!
Sales managers, try the Steve Martin technique on Corporate sometime! How come we are not going to make the goal? WE FORGOT! (I really need that sarcastica font…)