If everything is important, then nothing is important!

Massage Therapist

For many sales managers this time of year always means one thing; goal setting with your reps. And that usually means trotting out the SMART formula or one of the many variations.

And, for many, the inherent danger or challenge that they miss, ignore, or gloss over is the feeling by sales reps that all the goals are equally important.

Let me explain with this conversation I had with a masseuse….

My wife bought us (for Xmas) a series of massages to have together in a day spa. Each massage lasts for 50 mins.

At the start of the first massage we were given a form to fill in. 

Importantly it asked, “What areas would you like the masseuse to concentrate on?”

The form had 5 boxes that we could tick…. head and neck, arms, back, low back, and legs and feet. I ticked one box.

I asked my masseuse about the 5 box thing and she said, “You’d be surprised how many people tick all 5 boxes.”

That got me thinking…. there’s not much else to do while being massaged….. the very rough maths/ reasoning goes like this:

  • No box ticked: you get a 50 min massage, with the masseuse working the 5 areas, roughly 10 min each. Yep, a standard massage.
  • One box ticked: the masseuse, let’s say, spends 1 min less on 4 areas and adds that time (4 mins) to the one special area… 14 mins.
  • Two boxes ticked: the masseuse spends 1 min less on 3 areas and 11.5 mins on the 2 special areas.
  • Three boxes ticked: the masseuse spends 1 min less on 2 areas and 10.67 mins on the 3 special areas.
  • Four boxes ticked: the masseuse spends 1 min less on 1 area and 10.25 mins on the 4 special areas.
  • Five boxes ticked: what you get is yep, the standard massage, 10 mins per section.

So, if everything is important, then nothing is important.

But wait. There’s more.

At my next massage I asked the masseuse if this was kind of what happens. “Yes,” she said, “but it gets worse!”

“As you know, there are 2 things basically involved in a massage: there’s the rhythmic or cyclical movement of my hands AND the amount of pressure I apply.

So on that form you filled out at the start of the series, you were asked if you prefer ‘light,’ ‘moderate,’ or ‘hard’ pressure.”

“What I’ve caught myself doing is this. The more boxes that are ticked, the more I tend to speed up the rhythmic or cyclical movement of my hands AND increase the amount of pressure I apply.

You know… not only did I rush through it but the customer who wanted a ‘light massage’ got a ‘moderate massage.’ The customer who wanted a ‘moderate massage’ got a ‘hard massage’

In general, the more boxes that were ticked, the greater the likelihood that the customer didn’t get the result(s) they were looking for. It all seemed to be rushed and of higher pressure.

So, the more boxes that were ticked, the greater the likelihood the customer didn’t enjoy the experience.

And they told me that. Not only were they disappointed, so was I when I heard that.

But here’s the personal and professional kicker for me; the more boxes that were ticked, the greater the likelihood that they thought I was a lousy masseuse.”

“Now what I’m doing is looking at the number of ticked boxes and asking the customer, ‘what is the one area we should work on today; you know the one that will make this massage all worthwhile?”

So, here’s the rub.

At the end of your goal setting session ask your sales rep, “what is the one goal we should work on first; you know the one that will make it most worthwhile both personally and professionally?”