Well, here it is again. The end of another year. How did you do? Reach all your sales goals? Spend quality time with family and friends? Improve your golf game? Catch the big trout? Now that we have cataloged the successes of the past year, it’s time to look ahead. Great salespeople create their own future. They evaluate their successes and failures to understand what knowledge and skills need updating. Then they develop a personal improvement plan to make the changes needed to insure future success.
So How Did You Do In 2019?
Great salespeople have realistic goals. As time passes they reassess the goals to keep themselves on track. What were your 2019 goals? How did they change throughout the year? What prompted the changes? Did you measure your activities? How many sales calls did you make? Were you able to win new customers? If you lost a sale what did you learn? Most importantly did you keep records of your performance in 2019? When we track what’s important to success, then we can measure our performance and compare the actual to the desired. Then learn from what we did well and what needs to improve.
Are You Ready For 2020?
Next year is coming whether you are ready or not. Great salespeople know the hanging of a new calendar is not a cataclysmic shift. For them it’s just the passing from one month to the next. Like every other month they have tasks to plan, skills to work on and activities to do. Yes, year-end brings holidays, celebrations and more time off for most of us (unless you are in retail!). And traditionally it’s a time to take the long view of the next year. What do you want to accomplish in 2020? Great salespeople set both professional and personal goals. They develop plans to achieve those goals and share them with others who can keep them accountable and help them along the way. Great salespeople take an honest look at their past performance and commit to self improvement.
Did You Make a New Year’s Resolution?
I don’t take much stock in New Year’s resolutions. But I do make lists:
- Of my best customers
- Of the best prospects
- Of what affects the markets I sell into
- Of the products I sell both current and new introductions
- Of strategies for selling each product
- Of the reasons my customers buy from me
- Of what my competitors did to win orders I lost
- Of activities I have completed
- Of the skills I need to improve
- Of recommendations from my mentor for training needed
Maybe you would call me an “obsessive lister”. But taken together these lists form my plan. Perhaps there is a particular format your company requires for your plan. Or you have a different planning approach effective for you. Whatever method you use, just remember what General Eisenhower said about plans: “In planning for battle I have found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensible.” Great salespeople resolve to be effective planners and they know the value of the plan lies not in the plan itself but in the preparation and the execution.
What You Can Do Right Now
- Resolve to be a planner
- Make a plan to achieve each goal
- Track progress in the pursuit of each goal
- Make changes needed to reach each goal