How to Make Those New Year's Resolutions Profitable

It’s that time of year again. As we look back on the year that was and the one to come, it’s natural for us to reflect upon how we can make some positive changes in both our personal and professional lives. For those of us in sales, that includes changes to help us sell better and sell more. That’s right; it’s time to make some New Year’s Resolutions.

By Tracy Larson

We make them with the best of intentions. We know they’re in our best interest. We want to succeed. So why do most New Year’s resolutions fail within 30 days? Here are a few key reasons:

1. They’re too big to achieve.
2. They aren’t well defined.
3. Progressive success is hard to track.

Here’s how you can eliminate those obstacles and increase your sales success.

Bite-Size Sales Goals Lay the Groundwork

In sales, resolutions translate nicely into goal setting. So, let’s throw out the old way of thinking. Instead of focusing on the outcome you want to achieve, such as “I want to surpass my quota every quarter this year,” think about the actual steps you need to take to get there.

To do this, start with a set of 3-5 specific attainable, trackable and manageable sales goals for the next 90 days. This is enough time to “make it happen” and short enough to keep the finish line in sight. The 90-day time frame conveniently follows most organizational quarterly goals, making it easy to track. 

Here are some examples of the types of sales goals you might want to consider:

1. I will update my Pipeline Daily.
2. I will track progress on all active sales to quota weekly.
3. I will improve my [insert specific sales skill].
4. I will call X number of customers per week.

In addition, set one “stretch goal” for the next 90 days. Pick something that you realize will be a little bit difficult to accomplish, but that’s important to your success. Then push yourself!

For Salespeople, Repetition Makes for Healthy Habits

Most resolutions have to do with behavioral change, and behavioral change requires commitment, and a willingness to conscientiously practice repetitive actions or activities over time until they become habit. That’s certainly true for how you approach your sales goals. 90 days is long enough to become comfortable with your new routine and, with practice, turn these behaviors into habits.

For example, let’s say you resolve to call 120 customers in 90 days. The first step is to break that down into bite-size chunks. That’s 40 calls per month, 10 per week. The next step is to write down this very manageable goal. “I will call 10 customers every week.” And the third step is to make sure you have the resources you need to succeed. This might entail blocking off specific hours on your calendar to make those 10 calls, and/or preparing specific questions to engage those customers in conversation. Think about the typical excuses you might make for why those calls “didn’t happen” and make sure those reasons are eliminated. Then…it’s time to get to work. Start and repeat. Start and repeat. Finally, determine how you will track your success.

Throughout those 90 days, reviewing your written list of goals at least two times daily, no matter where you are, will keep them top of mind, as fresh as the day you wrote them.

Personally, a ritual that I find useful is writing my goals on a small piece of paper and folding it up five times. I keep that paper in my car and look at it every day before I head into the office, and in the evening when I pull into the garage. When I travel, it goes with me in my wallet. Unfolding and folding the paper back up is part of my ritual, forcing me to focus on the moment and the words on the paper. I like holding it in my hand. Maybe, for you, a pop-up reminder on your phone is a better solution. Choose a method that fits your style. The important thing is that you are actively reminded of, and forced to think about, those goals every single day.  I also mark my successes on the paper I fold and unfold daily.  This is proof positive that my actions are producing success.

Long-Term Sales Success; The Sum of Many Shorter Goals

At the end of 90 days, take time to assess how you did, whether you’ve managed to turn those goals into habits that you can comfortably maintain, and if so, what your goals should be for the next three months. Those may often be natural extensions of the goals you’ve just accomplished. For example, as you were making those 10 calls per day, how were they helping you move toward closing more business. What’s the next step? Your next goal? Establishing three or four specific goals for each 90 days is what you need to stay on track and make sure those New Year’s resolutions don’t become just another example of wishful thinking. In fact, you can even extend this approach to include one personal goal, like making it back to the gym, taking a class or finding downtime for yourself.

From the entire WeSuite Team, Happy New Year and Happy Goal Setting. May all your resolutions come true!

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