First of all, the market is finally improving. We’re seeing more activity than we’ve witnessed since the mid part of 2007, and typically the recruiting industry is a fairly good predictive indicator of things to come. Auto sales are up, the Dow is well above 11,000, retail sales are strong – all things that point to a solid recover, which brings me to #1 on the list.
- Attitude – carrying a negative attitude into a new year is a sure fire way to underperform. Try avoiding mainstream media in general and you’ll be shocked at how much better your attitude becomes. It’s nearly impossible to set the foundation for a quota exceeding year if you believe you can’t from the onset.
- Take care of yourself – run, walk your dog, walk in circles – whatever floats your boat. Sales is a very stressful occupation at times and I know personally that I am much more effective when I do something active on a regular basis. It clears your head and those endorphins do wonders for the stress level.
- I’ve written this in previous newsletters, but it holds true in this situation and is vitally important. If your sales manager does not have strong coach and mentoring abilities find a different job. In the past 3 years you may have had to put up with a subpar manager because of the lack of better opportunities, but I am confident that better opportunities will present themselves in 2011. It’s no different than being a talented player on a sports team that has a terrible coach – you’ll never achieve success with the wrong leader.
- What’s the most common trait that exists in the top level or A player software sales reps that I know? It’s not appearance, age, race, gender, or aggressiveness. If you’re not highly trained in solution selling, go find yourself some qualified trainers and take some courses. Even if you have to pay out of your own pocket it will pay dividends many times over.
- Don’t be afraid to kill a dead deal. I know it’s redundant, but no top reps that I know are not afraid to ask the client tough or difficult questions at some point in the process that will continually qualify the deal. It’s better to kill a non-deal quickly than have it drag on, wasting your valuable time, and most importantly preventing you from filling your pipeline with new prospects. If you’re a senior rep and you have that bad feeling in your stomach that something is wrong with the deal, I would bet 9 times out of 10 that you’re right. Don’t ignore the feeling – qualify and move on.