The wise saying, “Fortune favors the bold” still holds true today. In the past it was used to describe military leaders who did not hesitate in executing a plan of action, took risks, and as a result experienced memorable victories. Those that were indecisive, timid, or hesitant to act lost the trust of their people and inevitably failed.
This proven wisdom is good today for those in sales and sales leadership. Too many people find comfort within the “Corporate Box,” where they feel if they do the same thing they did yesterday, it will be safe. But business is changing quickly and organizations want their people to keep up with the changes in the market and even get ahead of them. Unwillingness to try new sales strategies, consider new tactics, or take bold action as business changes will only result in mediocrity. Such salespeople and leaders will see their star fade into corporate oblivion, as they are surpassed by those willing to be bold.
Another calendar year is almost complete. Most salespeople in a complex selling environment are experiencing sales cycles that are 6 months or longer—that means that at least 50% of your 2016 sales targets should already be in your sales pipeline! The average win rate for most sales teams is hovering around 25%–which equates to a 75% loss rate! That means you need even more qualified opportunities in your pipeline right now since you won’t win them all. Working harder and doing more of the same safe selling will only result in incremental improvement when you should be expecting exponential achievements.
If you want to change your sales success, this is the time to make the decision and commit to being different next year rather than hoping to be incrementally better. Decide right now to be bold… not next week, not next month, not next quarter. You have to make the decision to do things differently and commit to new behaviors, different expectations, and ultimately you will have better results. Otherwise, your performance will continue at the same level at best, falling far short of your innate potential. You not only owe it to yourself—you owe it to your team.
Luckily, December brings the opportunity to be reflective regardless of your fiscal year end. What do you need to prioritize to do differently? Here is a simple exercise to help. It will only take an hour of your time and will be well worth it. Write down your answers to the following questions:
- What are the bold goals that you would like to accomplish next year?
- What is currently going well? List everything that helps you drive toward your goals.
- Identify up to 3 strengths that if better leveraged by your team, they could benefit others. What can you do to make that a reality?
- What is holding you back in accomplishing your goals? List the things that are limiting or slowing you down and what you are going to do to minimize them.
- Circle the 3 items that are the biggest contributors to holding back performance and create an action plan to improve them or eliminate them. Who and what assistance do you need to make that happen?
- What processes or activities need to be automated, revamped or eliminated to make you more efficient but still meet the needs of the organization? Who would have to agree to make that change? Be specific.
- What risks or fears are holding you back? How can you minimize the risk but still push forward with change, even incrementally? What would give you more confidence in moving ahead?
- Who can you enlist to help you to accomplish your goals? What resources would you need to make it happen?
There is no better time than now to make your decision to be bold, to create your vision for change, and to take real steps towards their accomplishment. Make next year your best sales year yet!