Thinking long-term coupled with daily actions can be a strategic advantage and a superpower. Jeff Bezos likes to say that the revenue and profits in this quarter was decided about five years back. In a way, he is saying that he currently works on things that will have an impact five years down the line. Long term thinking like Jeff Bezos is terribly hard because it is hard to see results immediately.
I am in the IT services industry. I do not make decisions that are four to five years ahead. I have noticed that the revenue your firm earns today depends on Client and Prospect meetings you had six to seven months back.
In my world, it is hard to close a sale immediately after the first meeting. You need to have multiple interactions with the Client to qualify and close an opportunity. This requires patience (delaying gratification) and a focus on the Client needs (cannot be selfish).
With the sales cycle being long, I have found that it is natural to lose faith in the long-term approach. To ensure this doesn’t happen, keep detailed notes on the length of time for your successful deals. These success stories help orient your mindset (and your teams mindset) to think long-term when you meet a prospect for the first time. Re-iterating the success stories to yourself and your team can help you do the right things today that will payoff down line.
It is crucial your team (especially your leadership team or the founders) have to keep meeting your Clients and Prospects regularly (even if the opportunities look dim).
To do this consistently, you have to establish a daily habit or practice. One of our leaders, Philip Miles, has a ‘One Good Thing’ philosophy. The One Good philosophy states that you need to have at least one interaction with a Client or Prospect every day (an email does not count). Like Adam Grant likes to say, the value is in the daily grind.