By Tibor Shanto – firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week I posted about the how trends don’t use calendars and the flaw in trying to tie trends and the start of a new year; people on the other hand are different and do make effective use of calendars and planning to make improvements or changes in the way they do things. This includes sales people and the way they sell, and I would encourage people to set more time based objectives, and develop and execute a plan for achieving the desired results by or within a targeted time frame.
The new year is a natural time for people to set these objectives, hence the ritual of New Year’s Resolutions, interesting concept, not often effective. According to Knowledge Wharton Today, “Nearly half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year. Of those, only 8% are likely to succeed.” Not great odds, not even a good closing ratio if you are in sales.
I have seen sales people resolve to make more calls in the coming year, to go after accounts they were reluctant to approach, and other things that they see as a major change in the way they sell. I am all for “stretch goals” in the various senses of how the term is used in sales, but to be effective the “stretch” needs to be reasonable, not extreme. Sure if the extremes were achieved that would be great, but in most instances they are not, and turn out to be negative and discouraging. As the article points out, they become counter-productive.
The goal is to set reasonable attainable goals, building on what is already working, adding new elements of execution or strategy. The key is to set both goals and execution plans. There are times where people set a reasonable goal, but fail to develop an execution plan, and the outcome is negative, and the goal is abandoned. But if you set a series of doable goals, each building on the other, you can truly evolve your sales game. As you succeed at the first goal, you can celebrate your success, reap the benefits of their progress, and have the confidence to move to the next goal/challenge.
This allows one to evolve through the year, through their career without the shadow of a big resolution, and the disappointment of not achieving it. The approach can be applied to a number of aspects of sales, not just sales techniques or skills. You can look at market trends and evolve your product or message to leverage the trend, buyer habits or practices and more. The key is to make sure that you set yourself up to win, not just to play and be disappointed.
BTW, there is nothing wrong with resolving to do big things, just make sure that you have also set to evolve in small ways. If you achieve both, great; but if you miss on the big resolution, you still benefit from your new year evolution.