If you could wave a magic wand over your business, what would be your wish?
Would you increase your revenue, crack that big target account, get the order for a big career-making project? Or would you create more time for yourself and your personal goals?
Whatever you wish, how would your life change if it happened?
Before you make set goals or make resolutions for 2013, ask yourself what your life will be like if you achieve them. What kind of rewards will you experience? But also, and perhaps more importantly, ask yourself how your life will change if you don’t achieve them.
What will you miss out on? What will it cost you?
Remember that 10% of your business disappears every year due to attrition (mergers, relocations, plant closings), so just staying even isn’t an option.
We can expect our quotas to increase along with the pressure to grow our business, but a corporate expectation, even when it’s delivered by your direct supervisior, doesn’t provide motivation to change. That has to come from inside you and what you expect from yourself.
Even the threat of firing or being laid off is not effective in inspiring salespeople to increase their performance; it just breeds surface compliance or the appearance of working harder, or at its worst, it fosters short-term thinking and bad decisions to try to force business out of customers who just aren’t ready to buy. So, how can you build your business in a way that improves your confidence and your self-esteem right along with your revenue?
Start with your own mission statement.
Vow to provide your customers the best products and services for their particular needs and to lead with integrity in all you do.
Commit to fully understand a customer’s needs before prescribing a solution and to consistently follow through on your customer interactions.
Then, pick one thing a month to work on and incorporate as a new habit.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change all at once. Baby steps get us where we want to go more surely than one great leap and they provide incremental satisfaction along the way. We are not what we do occasionally; we are what we do consistently. That is how we are known and how we build our business.
Find the time every day to review your goal for the month and schedule it in your planner. For example:
“This month I will reach out to XYZ Company and try to get a meeting with a key executive. I’ll do that by researching the names and titles of key executives, sending them letters of introduction, phoning them to follow-up, sending an email with a menu of business issues, and phoning them again.“
That’s the goal and the plan. What’s missing?
When are you going to do this? If it’s left to whenever you get the chance, you may take one or two of the actions listed. If you have a date with yourself for every Thursday morning at eight to execute the steps and record your progress, you will complete them and will either have a new customer opportunity at the end of that month or a better sense of why that company is not a good place to invest your limited time and resources.
Finally, how will you keep yourself accountable?
Some of us have a mentor or coach we look to when we need help staying focused on our goals. For others, the buddy system is a good alternative. Ask a friend or colleague for a check-in meeting once a week regarding your progress and offer to do the same for him or her. Critique each other’s prospecting letters or business issues. Give each other the support you need to stay committed and to succeed.
With a clear understanding of what you want, how your life will change if you achieve it, a plan and dedicated time to execute it and someone to help keep you on track, you are well on your way to making 2013 a golden year for you and your business.
Happy New Year to all of you!
Ed: Bryonie Wise
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