The new year begins and people set goals with good intentions -- only to find themselves falling off the wagon after the first month.
Don’t set goals. Instead, make a decision, because that precedes setting and achieving goals. A friend shared a story with me years ago that really cemented this theory. He was on a first date with a young lady and had asked her to go skiing. Seemed like a great first date because we live in Colorado, the mecca of skiing. As he and his date were riding up the first chairlift, he looked over and noted she looked terrified.
“I’m afraid of heights.” (I have no idea why she accepted a skiing date.)
“Is there anything I can do? (This is a long chairlift ride.)
He waited a couple of minutes and checked in again – and surprisingly, his date was relaxed and actually smiling.
“Uh, I thought you were afraid of heights.”
“Not anymore. I made a decision.”
“What do you mean?”
“I made a decision that I wasn’t going to be afraid.”
Now, notice what she didn’t say: “I set a goal to eliminate my fear of heights.” Goals are great; decisions and the resulting actions are even better.
So what decisions do salespeople need to make to ensure they have a fun and prosperous year in sales? Here are a few to consider.
1. Make a decision on whom you are going to hang with in 2021. The late Jim Rohn said it best. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Are you spending time with salespeople that are optimistic and always find a way to succeed? Or, are you hanging around with the naysayers of the world that blame their lack of success on everyone and everything but themselves?
In the EQ world, we call this “emotional contagion.” Research shows that people “catch” the emotions of others, both positive and negative. If you want to enjoy more fun and success in life, spend your time with can-do people rather than can’t-do and won’t-do ones.
2. Make a decision to ruthlessly access your soft skills (EQ skills) and hard skills (consultative selling skills). If you are not closing enough business or the right type of business, slow down and examine every part of your sales process.
- Are you pursuing your ideal client or are you pursuing prospects that show interest but aren’t really ready to change and improve?
- Have you mastered your selling skills so you can show up perfectly present during a sales call? Or are you worried and thinking about the prospect’s next question, which takes your focus from the conversation in front of you to the one in your head? One conversation s other-focused, the second conversation is self-focused.
Apply the EQ skill of reality testing and self-regard. This requires the confidence to look at both your strengths and weaknesses. It also is the ability to look at things for what they are rather than what you’d like them to be. We’d all like to be sales rock stars. But rock-star status takes time, patience, perseverance and work. Ask a colleague and/or your sales manager for their feedback about areas you can improve, then do something with it!
3. Make a decision to get your out-of-control calendar in control. I’ve shared with more than one sales manager that poor time management is the underlying reason a lot of salespeople don’t achieve sales activity metrics and sales results.
With the onset of the pandemic, I’m hearing more people complain about “back-to-back meetings.” Salespeople and sales managers aren’t giving themselves a break for fear of, well, who knows.
Now there are many problems inherent with this schedule. One I see is lack of being fully present during the call. Because the salesperson didn’t give himself a break, his mind is still on the last call rather than this one. Or the salesperson constantly is looking at the clock during the meeting because, well, she’s got another meeting coming up. So much for building rapport and trust.
Stop the madness. Make a decision to schedule meetings that include “drive time” between them. Your brain is like any muscle in your body. It needs a break to decompress and get refreshed. Make a decision to revisit or learn the basic rules of productivity. You can work hard and you can work smart.
I’d love to hear about the decision you are making to set yourself up for a fun and prosperous sales year.