Hans Hansson | December 14, 2016
What Worked, What Didn't, and What Will Change?
Driven salespeople annually review past results and plan ahead for the future. They keep track of past execution and compete with themselves to perform better each year. As we close out one year and begin yet another, it's time for self-reflection.
Most sales organizations will require each employee to complete an independent business plan at the beginning of each year. Most plans ask you to outline how much you expect to produce, the steps you will take in order to hit that goal, and what your personal and professional goals will be for the coming years.
If you are in a sales organization, they may also require monthly or quarterly reviews of your plans in order to make sure you are on track to meeting your goals and objectives.
However, if you are an independent salesperson or real estate agent, reviewing goals likely falls on you. A sales manager may ask you to develop a plan and meet for an occasional update, but since you are independent, your results are almost always dictated by you.
Every year, people look to the new year with hope and confidence. Often times, they see the new year as a way to wipe the slate clean from past underachievement. The problem is that if you do not develop a realistic and strategic plan to make fundamental changes, you will not see results by the end of the year. Here are four new year resolutions for salespeople who want to be successful in 2017:
1. Develop a SMART plan.
When writing a business plan, it's important to incorporate SMART goals– specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.
Creating a realistic plan is a key component– what goals are aligned with your skillset and strengths in order to be realistic and achievable in the long run? Every salesperson should internally evaluate who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses may be.
For example, you may set a goal to complete a hundred cold calls a day. But if your personality is similar to mine, your time may be better spent working on new opportunities through your existing relationships, rather than securing a couple of leads from a day's worth of playing telephone.
2. Commit to being committed.
Along with being specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-based, business plans will only be useful when there is commitment and intent behind it. Once you determine your strengths and weaknesses, address a plan that aligns with your strengths, you need to determine whether or not you are prepared to commit the necessary time in order to complete your necessary tasks.
3. Address your weaknesses.
Now that you have highlighted strengths and weaknesses– address them. Do you have strengths that offset your weaknesses? Not all weaknesses can be improved, but some can with time, reflection, and active work to progress. There are also a number of tools that exist which can help improve weaknesses, such as taking advantage of calendars, to-do lists, and spreadsheets. If getting to meetings on time is an issue, set up alarms ahead of your meeting, noting when you should leave the office and account for traffic. Today, there are smart technologies such as Siri or Amazon's Alexa that can remember to remind you and even call a cab to get you to where you need to be on time. If you find the right tool that can help improve your weaknesses, get in the habit of using it and it will eventually become second nature.
4. Review, assess and adjust as necessary.
Once your business plan is written with SMART goals, you've reviewed what is realistic and unrealistic, you've addressed your weaknesses– it's time to execute. Part of execution is making sure your goals are actually working. I'd suggest evaluating and reviewing your plan on a regular basis, at least once a week. Sometimes you'll see some results, but not as much as you intended, so slight adjustments to your plans will change the outcome for the better. Consistent evaluation of your plan will help keep you honest and can reveal holes you may not have noticed before.
Ensure that 2017 will be your best year yet by following the tips above. When you combine intent with a solid plan, followed by committed actions– you drive straight to success!
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