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I don’t know how big your company is, but when I was in the ingredient sales world we had a little over 100 ingredient sales reps across a variety of industries. I really only interacted with the reps who were focused on health and nutrition, specifically the ones that were dealing with categories of products that I sold on a regular basis. In 2012 I had the opportunity to meet everybody on the team, all 100+ sales reps, at a sales conference meeting at a Hilton hotel. I was surprised to find out that one of the sales reps was a 20-year veteran and was struggling massively internally, though externally he seemed fine. While talking to this veteran sales rep, we’ll call him Donny, he asked for my help on a few things.

While we were talking, I was standing behind him while  he was searching for something in his inbox. His anxiety continued to mount because he couldn’t find what he needed so we could continue our discussion. He was visibly frustrated and overwhelmed, and I could see exactly why: This gentleman had over 16,000 emails in his inbox. When I looked at that, I was overwhelmed for him. The emails consisted of company-focused initiatives, tasks that he had to do, and ongoing communications with contacts. He had a task list, but he hadn’t managed it in forever. I really wanted to help him, but when I gave him a process, he was too overwhelmed to implement it. It is a straightforward process of eliminating distraction that I’ve used successfully for many ingredient sales reps, but you have to be in the right mindset to be able to truly engage in the process.

In the ingredient world, one of the biggest limitations with being able to engage in the journey of exponential ingredient sales growth is the elimination of distraction. Don was not able to grow his territory very effectively. He was being moved around to many different positions and he wasn’t doing what he was originally hired to do. He was a guy who was well-known in one industry, but when they moved him into a completely separate industry, he wasn’t able to make any real progress. He was frustrated. While his frustration was externally attributed to changes in the company, internally, he was not protecting himself. He wasn’t processing his distractions in a way that allowed him to move on with his day and  build momentum in this new industry.

There were distractions coming from inside the company. There were distractions that he had put on himself. There were distractions  coming from outside of the company, potential customers that he wasn’t able to effectively evaluate, qualify, and potentially move forward with. He would take on projects that were not necessarily the best types of projects. All of these distractions completely limited him from growing exponentially. If you find yourself feeling like Don did, I want to tell you that it is possible to begin the journey of exponential ingredient sales. That journey begins with the elimination of distraction, but you can’t just delete distraction. You have to process those distractions, and you have to address them, each one individually. The reason they’re distractions is because they are open loops, they are unfinished items.

We’re creating a video series called “The Journey of Exponential Ingredient Sales”. It’s 100% free. In the link above and below this blog you will be able to access that journey. The very first step in that journey is the elimination of distractions. There is a very specific process for processing distractions in a way so they go from being distracting to being doable actions. Your inbox should be used as a tool for communication, not for storage or for project management. Those dangerous activities—and I call them dangerous because distraction is  dangerous—of trying to use your inbox as a project management tool or as a reference tool holding everything in place will destroy your ability to grow exponentially. It will frustrate you, and you won’t know what to do from one moment to the next.

We want to help you with that. Sign up for the video series, “The Journey to Exponential Ingredient Sales Growth”  below or above using the link. I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Sign up here to receive free ingredient-specific sales training from Ingredient Sales University (ISU) and to be notified when enrollment for the University opens.