For any business, the true mark of success lies in their sales. The amount of sales they are able to make per year can mean the difference between bankruptcy and rapid and sustainable growth. A company’s sales are largely influenced by the salespeople they have, who are directly influenced by the sales leadership. However, it is equally as important for salespeople to choose the RIGHT clients.
No matter how much you’ve accomplished, there’s always the possibility of increasing your productivity and effectiveness so that you can achieve more of your sales or professional goals. Follow these tips to reach higher still.
I recommend to everyone that YOU choose your clients, as much as they choose you. Hold interviews with them. If it is a good fit, then proceed to discover fit. However, if it seems it is not a good fit, move on quickly. Partnering with someone you does not trust will do everyone harm, and take your energy away from your true goals- and the client’s ultimate success.
1. Set the Right Goals
The first step to achieving goals is to set the right ones. Many leadership and organization psychology experts use the acronym SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound — to help you hone in on the types of goals that will set you up for success. Besides creating a sense of urgency, a SMART goal is clearly defined. “I’ll go to the gym for an hour before work every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” yields better results than a vague, “I’ll get in shape.”
In addition to setting SMART goals, it’s also important to focus on what you can control and not on the outcome, which is out of your control. According to Think Like a Warrior, by sports psychology expert Darin Donnelly, you’ll get the best results, and be happier, if you focus only on your effort and your attitude. Otherwise, if you focus on results and outcomes, you risk getting discouraged and giving up when something doesn’t go your way.
For sales leaders, the same is true — focus on the people who are the most qualified for you, and want to work with you, and your goals will become more achievable and measurable. Your route to helping the client will become much shorter, and your achievement for them will become more specific. Great sales people know what is right for themselves and the company.
Everyone has different mindsets, perceptions and experiences they bring to the table. For whatever reason, you may not have worked on your emotional intelligence, regulation, or ability to serve all. This is OK. However, you must know your limits. And, if it is truly not a fit for you both, move on.
2. Change Your Habits
Most people know that our habits are what help or hurt us the most when it comes to goal achievement. You may be surprised to learn that one of the most effective ways to change a habit is to change your environment.
Often people fall into negative habits due to surrounding stimuli, such as eating ice cream after dinner because you see the ice cream bowls in the cabinet while doing the dishes. In this example, you could benefit by moving the bowls so you don’t encounter them as often and can avoid the negative habit entirely. Likewise in a professional setting, correcting a negative habit could be as simple as turning your desk or working on a different team.
Selling or providing services to toxic customers harms everyone. Maintain relationships with customers that are mutually respectful. When you become overcome or don’t fit well with potential customers, you should look within – is this more about you? Or is it more about them? Know the difference. Is this one of your self-defeating habits? Or is the customer unwilling or truly not ready to move forward? If so, let it go. There is a huge pool of potential customers if you open your mind – even for the smallest market. Your service or product can likely be scaled or pivoted at a moments notice. You must be willing to change your habits and mindset, however to get there.
3. Leave Your Comfort Zone
True leaders (sales or otherwise) are willing to do the hard work, go outside of their comfort zones, and exercise grit. It takes courage, to speak up and propose changes to a system that isn’t working – and be sure that you are standing up to what you believe it right. When you point out flaws in the system, you’re bound to encounter naysayers who want to stay in their own comfort zones. However, when you consider what it takes to make a significant positive impact on your organization, it often requires taking a calculated risk.
Most great CEOs love go-to’ers – people they can go to for any problem to “take care of it.” If you were the CEO or boss (which you may be reading this article) you probably don’t appreciate or respect senior executives who just do what you tell them to do in a strict task-oriented manner – after you have fully on-boarded and worked with the executive past the 90-120 day mark. At the beginning of a relationship, micro-management and task-orientation is important to get the goals and vision aligned. However, once things get going, you must come up with the solutions and present them in a manner that is consistent with the vision of the company – and what is right for them – the client. You are working for the CEO or boss, and it’s your job to be a thought leader to them, giving them solutions. They can help to mold your solutions so you can carry them out to fruition and with great outcomes.
One of the Top 100 Coaches, and Founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, partner to Newsweek on America’s Most Loved Workplaces, and the author of more than 10 books on best practices in leadership and management, including Change Champion’s Field Guide, In Great Company, and Best Practices in Talent Management. Thought leaders and executives voted him as one of Global Gurus Top 10 Organizational Culture thinkers worldwide.