If I just work harder, I know I can improve my sales.  Wrong!

Even though working hard is part of the formula for improved sales performance, it is not the answer.  I’ve known salespeople who didn’t work hard at all who out performed the hardest working salespeople I’ve ever known.  If hard work is not the answer, then what is? There are salespeople who do the “right things” who actually perform at a lower level than those who work hard.  If doing the “right things” isn’t the answer to improved sales, then what might be the answer? There are salespeople who have a compelling desire to do their best but never reach the level of those salespeople who do the “right things”.  Does it sound a bit confusing and maybe a bit of a run-a-round?

There are salespeople who have spent their whole career in the sales arena hoping maybe this year will be their breakout year – a year where they will achieve their top performance, only to realize more of the same.  Doing the same activity will bring the same result. Not knowing the secret for climbing out of this sales rut can bring a heavy emotional toil. There is no magic bullet to increasing your sales performance. There are many factors responsible for the performance of top salespeople.  I will discuss a few of them. You may be applying some of them already, but success requires a balanced approach in the implementation of all of these principles. The key word here is balance. All of these principles must be applied in balance. One, or a few, without the others will not bring the success of a balanced approach.

  1. Plan your day, every day, to achieve all you can.  Planning just by itself can add a minimum of two more hours of productivity to your day.  No one is too busy to plan, especially considering the value of two more productive hours each day.  That is the equivalent of six days performance in a typical five-day workweek.
  2. Work your plan.  Planning loses its impact if you don’t work your plan.  Selling is an action word; its very meaning suggests activity.  You must do the things you plan and schedule to do.
  3. Work hard at all that you do.  There is no substitute for hard work.  However, hard work in and of itself will not provide sales success.
  4. Know your sales process so you will be spending your day working hard at following your plan.  That will guarantee you will be doing the right things. There is tremendous power in working hard at doing the right things.
  5. Be consistent.  Consistency is one of the key principles, that when applied, makes people great.  You need to work hard at doing the right things consistently.
  6. Set goals that will lead you to the level of success you desire.  Nothing great just happens out of the clear blue sky. Successful salespeople set regular activity and performance goals that act as a road map to their success.
  7. Avoid the daily bombardment of distraction that regularly sucks the life out of the average salesperson.  Distractions are a form of “sales paralysis”. I’m sure you have suffered from the symptoms but didn’t know what was making you ill.  You were working hard but making no progress while time just seemed to vaporize before your very eyes.
  8. Focus your attention and actions on those things that are truly important.  You can know what is important by applying this simple test: (a) Is this activity moving me closer to my goal?  (b) Will this activity generate profit for my company and commissions to me?
  9. Evaluate your performance daily.  A daily evaluation will give you 240 opportunities each year to correct course.  You won’t get too far off track if you evaluate your performance each day.
  10. Establish a program of accountability for your performance.  “When people accept accountability, they are more likely to invest their hearts and minds in getting things done, allowing them to achieve results that often exceed expectations.” – Roger Connors and Tom Smith – The Oz Memo, July 2010