Tis the Season to Reflect, Repent and Recommit!
This is the time of year when most sales newsletters publish articles about how sales reps need to avoid the distraction of the holidays, put off the excuses and finish strong. They are not wrong, just hoping to squeeze out that last bit of effort so that salespeople don’t completely check out for the last few weeks of the year. Salespeople aren’t the problem, they are just responding to how their prospects and customers are showing up. Let’s face it, business is different between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. It just is.
So, how can we make this time more productive? I recommend that every salesperson and sales leader use this time to Reflect, Repent and Recommit. Here’s what I mean:
As we approach the end of the year, it seems that every TV station and media outlet has some version of the “Year in Review.” These shows or articles highlight the major events of the past year - both good and bad. We are reminded of various events or incidents that took place that impacted our lives.
If you’re in sales or sales leadership, you should be doing the same. Take some time to honestly reflect on your performance over the past year. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself:
Did you hit your goals? If not, can you put your finger on the reason you weren’t successful?
Did you have a solid plan for reaching your goal? Did you follow the plan?
Did you complete the activity goals you set? How effective were those activities?
Did you measure your effectiveness at converting opportunities through each stage of the sales process? Did you improve from last year?
Professional athletes routinely review films after each game to evaluate their performance and see what they can do differently next time. If you’re in sales and expect to increase your income and grow in your position, you need to do the same.
When we think of the word repent, most of us think of a religious confession where we admit our mistakes and screw-ups and promise to do better in the future. The word repent means to change direction. Stop doing what you are doing and do something differently.
In an earlier newsletter, I discussed the difference between change and growth. Everything changes. Next year will be different than this year – guaranteed. However, growth is different. Growth requires focus, commitment, and being intentional. It requires us to ask the question, what are we going to do differently next year?
After spending some time in honest reflection about your efforts over the past year, what are you going to do differently next year? If you didn’t have a detailed plan to measure yourself by, create one for the new year. If you didn’t measure your effectiveness, add that to the list. If you didn’t get better last year, consider investing in training to improve your skills.
If you’re in sales, someone is typically setting your targets for you. If you’re the sales leader, you are typically told what the expected increase in revenue will be. If you’re in sales, you are assigned your part of that expected revenue increase as a goal. It doesn’t really matter if you agree with the goal or not. If you agree to be on the team, then accept the challenge and commit to doing everything you can to reach that goal.
As I’ve mentioned several times before, sales are hard. We are the athletes of business that are in the arena. Everyone in the company knows when we are successful and when we fail. That’s the job. That’s what we signed up for.
So, if this is our calling, let’s commit to being the best we can be. This goes beyond the commitment to hit our sales goals. We need to commit to making a positive impact on the organizations we serve. Here is a list of commitments I encourage my salespeople to make:
Commit to the plan – Our job is to grow the business by acquiring more customers and selling the products and services our company provides. Salespeople are most aware of the company’s shortcomings because we get constant feedback from our customers and prospects. We need to remind ourselves that there are no perfect companies and commit to the plan.
Commit to the activities required to be successful – It’s easy to get distracted and busy doing things that seem urgent but may not be important. It takes discipline and commitment to stay the course. Prioritize your sales activities.
Commit to getting better – Nobody has ever mastered the profession of sales. There is always room for improvement. To improve, you have to measure your effectiveness at each stage of the sales process. Identify the areas for improvement and then get the training or support you need to make the changes.
Commit to proactive communication – Sales are the engine that drives the business. Salespeople create momentum through the quality and consistency of their communication. Commit to delivering your activity reports on time. Keep the CRM System updated. Provide all necessary information to others on the team to help them serve your customers.
Commit to Team Success – Salespeople are often seen as “lone wolves” because they do most of their work outside the company. They can be seen as challenging because they are constantly pushing the company to be more competitive and exceed expectations. For this reason, salespeople must remember that they are part of a team and commit to working with all team members towards mutual success.
Commit to Take Responsibility – Don’t make excuses. Own the result. If you are experiencing real challenges, then it is up to you to bring them forward and ask for help.
As we finish another year, let’s all take the time to reflect, repent and recommit to making 2022 the best possible year it can be.