How to Make Positive Changes to Your Sales Process This Year

Yum! Are you eating cookies again after you swore them off on New Year’s Eve? Probably. New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to keep, so why not focus instead on what you can actually do this year instead of making resolutions that are likely to be broken?

No more excuses

Excuses. I’ve heard them all. We didn’t have the budget. I didn’t have the time. The buyer was unfair. They wanted too much. My competitor had more experience than I did. The buyer didn’t want to change. The list of excuses goes on and on. This year, make no more excuses.

No more excuses means you will be more successful. I am not promising that everything will go in your direction; I am promising that everything will not go in your direction! But what I am saying is when things don’t go the way you want, your default position should be something other than making an excuse.

Excuses are simply a free pass for failure. If you can blame someone or something other than yourself, you don’t have to take responsibility for what happens. Even more important is excuses allow you to stay the same. And what does that get you? Likely more failure.

When you take action after failure to do something different, you just might create the path to a future success. Instead of excuses, analyze what went wrong. What could you do differently in the future? What can you do now to prepare? What did you miss that needs to be addressed? Ask and answer the questions. Don’t make excuses.

You can even look at failure differently once you’re not making excuses. It’s been said that it took Thomas Edison 10,000 failures before he found a light filament that worked. But he didn’t see it that way. Instead he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

So develop your sales strategies and accept that some will fail. This year instead of explaining why you couldn’t succeed, plan on what you can do next—and start doing it.

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Start thinking

Thinking is an often forgotten selling skill. You need to start thinking about your business and any “what ifs.” What if your largest account went away? Where would you be? What are the conditions that might cause you to lose a large account? What if you couldn’t sell a particular product? How would that impact your business? Once you know what can cause you to miss your goals, you can start to address your shortcomings.

Just remember that thinking without action is like a car without fuel—it’s not going anywhere. Your ideas must be fueled by your actions so things change and are improved.

Do something to make yourself a better salesperson

Think of yourself like a professional athlete. Athletes work out to maintain their strength or improve their performance. What are you doing to improve?

It’s often said if you want to be a better writer you should read more. When you read, you see what others are doing. Your vocabulary increases. You get new ideas which you can apply. And to improve your selling, I would recommend doing more buying. When you are a buyer, you will notice how you’re being treated by the seller.

You often have to negotiate when you buy, and if you’re not negotiating, why not? Even your cable bill can be negotiated! (Hint: You can always ask if you’re getting the best deal.) When you’re a buyer, you also can ask questions to find out how knowledgeable your salesperson is.

Your awareness as a buyer will help you become a better salesperson. When you realize the areas needing improvement, make changes. This could be working on engaging your customers and building rapport, or becoming more knowledgeable about your competitors.

Make this year a good year

People who make New Year’s resolutions have the best intentions, but they just aren’t going about it the right way to get the results they want. Forget about the cookies. Stop making excuses. Instead, start thinking about your business and make improvements to have better sales results this year.

RELATED: Overcoming the Most Common Sales Challenges

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