I kick off each quarter spending time doing a review of the preceding quarter. As such, I spent a few days last week taking stock of what happened in Q3. Well, let’s just say September…sucked!
Not only did I miss my monthly revenue goal, but September 2022 was the lowest revenue month since June of 2021. And, September 2022 was nowhere near September 2021. This was my proverbial “what the hell?” moment! I was really bummed, and I could have easily gone down the rabbit hole of “woe is me.”
I did this by looking at my numbers beyond Q3 and by asking a series of questions.
This combo provided context so that I could zoom out, which helped to change my perspective. Changing my perspective is what prevented my disappointment from turning into a full-blown “rabbit hole” trip. And it made all the difference in the world.
Last week reminded me of the value of tracking and the power of reframing. And this is the purpose of today’s piece…to remind you of the same.
It Starts Here
The reason I was able to look back 9-months, 15-months, and then month/year vs. the same month/different year is because of a weekly practice: I track.
I track darn near everything. When it comes to sales, I track my sales by month, by quarter, and for the year. Because I have a separate spreadsheet for each year, it made comparing time-frames within a year and between years easy.
However, if my quarterly exercise stopped at me just looking at the numbers, I might still be bummed as I write.
This Comes Next
What shifted my mood, though, was asking and answering questions!
To be clear, this process doesn’t alter the facts. But it is what helped me to reframe how I was looking at my Q3 results. In other words, it changed my perspective.
And in case you could benefit from a bit of reframing of your own Q3 results, here are the questions I asked after documenting the following:
- Comparing my yearly revenue goal to the year-to-date number, and my quarterly review goal to the quarter’s actual;
- Total sales per month in the quarter; and
- New sales per month, by offer
Question 1. What three things am I most proud of this quarter?
Answering this question is what really snapped me out of my short-lived pity-party. Because as I reviewed the numbers, I realized, yeah I missed the mark for the month, but overall the third quarter was still a good one.
(And as a side-note: How funny that last week I talked about volatility in the stock market. Sales go up and down, too!)
Question 2. What three things most challenged me?
Answering this question helped me tap into an opportunity that can help me be even more proactive about sales for the rest of the year.
Question 3. What worked really well this quarter?
Answering this question helped me to remember when and where I was consistent. It reminded me to, yes, be aware of where I need to make improvements, but don’t let that overshadow the strengths I bring to the table.
Question 4. What were the sources of my wins?
Like question 3, answering this question helped me to take a step back and take stock of what I got “right” and to take note of what contributed to that.
Question 5. What didn’t work well?
Answering this question is an invitation to get honest about not only what didn’t go well, but what role did I play in that outcome.
Question 6. Where is there room for growth?
Answering this question gave me a chance to look at my initial feelings of discouragement and dejection for clues of what I can do better and/or perhaps differently.
Question 7. What new projects emerged?
This stems from answering question 6. I mean, think about it…innovation rarely comes about during groovy times, right? In my case, it gave me an idea of an experiment I’m going to give a try.
Question 8. Where did I get in my own way?
Akin to question 3, this is like looking in the mirror and being honest about the blindspots that are now being revealed. (A word of caution here: be honest, yet gentle with yourself.)
Question 9. How did I get out of my own way?
There are always two sides to a coin – literally and figuratively. Answering this question helped me, again, take stock and recognize the ways I made excellent use of my time, energy, and/or expertise.
Question 10. What were the three biggest lessons learned?
Answering this question helped me to realize I’ve been resisting making a particular decision because I’m afraid.
Question 11. What’s next?
Answering this question inspired me to create two videos about how volatility doesn’t just show up in the stock market, but in sales, too. And, to talk about the value of tracking and the power of reframing.
Based on the comments and messages I got in response to the videos on Instagram and LinkedIn, it seems there’s something in the air. Turns out I wasn’t alone in having a sh*tty September and challenging Q3.
Given how the videos resonated with my social media peeps, I thought I’d go deeper and share even more with you here.
If you don’t already have a practice of tracking, I invite you to start.
If you don’t already have a quarterly review process, I invite you to create one. But be sure it includes reviewing the data and answering questions. And please feel free to use the questions I’ve shared herein.
Like I said, the questions never alter the facts.
But they certainly help to provide context. And like they did for me, they just may help to change your perspective which can alter how you move forward – is it proactive or reactive? Because, my friend, this can make all the difference in the world.
p.s. If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner and your Q3 results are prompting questions about your business model, sales process, and pricing strategy, let’s talk.