Learning From The Past

Last week I wrote about now is the time to set goals for 2011.  This is true.  By the same token, this time of the year is also a good time to reflect on what was accomplished in 2010.   While you certainly want to have the majority of your attention looking through the windshield of the future, you still want to reflect on the rearview mirror of the past.

Sometime looking at the past we only see what we didn’t do and fail to give ourselves credit for all that we accomplished.  Consider taking a balanced approach to evaluating the past.  The only thing the past is really good for is learning from it.

This means looking at both accomplishments and failures from the standpoint of what you can learn and benefit from those experiences.

When we think of failure we can get into a funk.  Often, we make failure mean something about us personally.   “I didn’t do what we wanted to do so therefore I must be a failure.”

Another more productive way to look at failure is you did not accomplish what you wanted to accomplish and now you know what doesn’t work.   It doesn’t matter what you did that didn’t work.

For example, you may say you did not do your best and that is why you failed.  Well, you may not have given it your best shot.  But, you know now that that doesn’t work for what you had to accomplish.

There probably have been times when you accomplished something without giving it your best shot.  For those times not giving it your best shot worked.  When you don’t give it your best shot and fail.  You know that doesn’t work.

It doesn’t do any good to put yourself down because you did not give it your best shot.  What there is to do is give it your best shot on a go forward basis.  The main point here is you would not have acknowledged you did not give it your best shot if you had not looked at the past.

Don’t let failure keep you from learning from failure.  Refusing to review something because you did not succeed is a big mistake.  You really set yourself up for another failure.

When you can look at failure objectively for what it is and not from the standpoint of it means I’m a bad person, you benefit.

The same is true with accomplishments.  You certainly want to take pride in what you have achieved, but don’t go overboard.  Take a similar approach to failure to see what you can learn and how you can apply success principles in the future.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at accomplishments is that very little we accomplish all on our own.  Be sure to show appreciation to those who assisted you in the achievement of your goals.

Make 2011 your best sales year ever.  Map out what you want to accomplish.  Take bold massive action.  Adjust when you need to.  Do these things and this time next year when you look back on 2011 you will have a lot to accomplishments to learn from.

Happy Selling

How Holiday Shopping Is Like A Sales Plan

We are officially deep into the holiday season.  For a lot of people this means last minute shopping, crowded malls, and sometimes a lot of stress.  Folks are making plans for having visitors in the home, how they will take a few days off, and just in general making plans on how they will enjoy the holidays.

Making plans can be fun and they certainly add enjoyment to whatever we are doing.  Take shopping for example.  You make plans to go to the mall and get a gift for Uncle Joe.  While you may not know exactly what you want to get Uncle Joe, the plan is to leave the mall with a gift the he will appreciate.

You arrive at the mall, find a parking space, brave the crowds, negotiate the long checkout lines, and you get the gift for Uncle Joe.  Don’t you feel the sense of satisfaction?  You set out to do something and you did it!  Sure it was difficult.  You had to take yourself out of the normal routine to achieve your goal.  But, you did it and you feel great about it.

Making plans to be successful in your selling efforts is very similar to shopping for that gift for Uncle Joe.  Success starts with a plan.  Having a target or goal is the first step towards achieving anything.  It is very rare to just “happen upon” success.

As human beings we are happiest when we are striving after something.  This is not necessarily a competitive thing.  This is a focus on achievement thing.  What gives us the satisfaction of accomplishment is because we set out to do something.

It is when we have to strive and overcome obstacles in order to reach our goals that allow us to look back on our achievements with a sense of pride.   We did what it took to accomplish what we said we were going to do.

When we have no goals or objectives we are like a raft on the ocean just drifting wherever the current takes us.  If we arrive at land there is no sense of accomplishment because we didn’t strive to reach land.  It just showed up.

Now is a good time to think about what goals and objectives you want to reach next year.  Will this be a breakthrough year for you?  Will this be your best year ever?  It probably won’t be, if you don’t make plans for it to be.

Set your targets high.  You don’t have to know and see every aspect of how you’re going to reach your target.  Develop your plan based on your best thinking that you have now and make adjustments as you need to.

When you went shopping for Uncle Joe, you didn’t have everything figured out.  You just knew you were going to the mall and get a gift.

So take some time during this holiday season as you celebrate and bring the year to a close, about what you want to accomplish next year.  When you do so you will find an excitement starting to build that will just propel you out of the gate for a fast start to 2011.

Happy Selling & Happy Holidays

Winning Versus Losing The Sales Game

What makes the difference between a person who is winning the sales game and a person who is losing the sales game?

You can look at a sales team and you will find winners and those that are struggling to make sales.  It really causes you to think as to why that is so.  They both have the same products and services, same marketplace, same everything except one succeeds and one doesn’t!

One might say that one is more trained than the other one.   That could be true, but I have often seen where the exact same training is done for two people and one succeeds and one doesn’t.

Perhaps we always want to look for something that is outside of the sales people themselves as the reason one is successful and the other isn’t.  When in fact what really makes the difference is what’s on the inside.

Let me give you an example.  Let’s say that a salesperson is not succeeding because they need training.  The winning sales person would go out and get the training they need to be successful.  The losing sales person would say “I only get training when my company pays for it.”  In other words, the losing sales person is not willing to invest in themselves.

All of the actions or lack of actions of a losing sales person come from within.  Now it could be that the losing sales person just doesn’t like selling.  If that is the case they should get out of the sales game and go find something else to do.

By the way, the fact that the losing sales person is still in the sales game, and they don’t like the sales game, is further evidence of what’s going on with them on the inside.

To be successful in sales or really anything else you have to have what I call Winning Posture.   Winning Posture has three components that put you in a position to win at anything.  Notice I said put you in a position to win.

You won’t win every time.  Nobody does that.  However, when you have Winning Posture you will win more than you lose.

What are the three components of Winning Posture?  They are: Mindset, Skills, and Values.

Mindset has to do with the attitudes you have.  Having the right mindset about you, your company, your products and services are a foundation for good sales results.  If you don’t have the right mindset, others will pick up on that and not want to do business with you.  Having the right mindset attracts business to you.

Of course you have to have skills.  In selling, you never will fully develop all of your potential.  There will always be something to work on or something to improve upon.  The key is to always be moving and advancing your sales skills.  Reading, seminars, coaching, and practice are all part of continuing to develop your skills.  Incorporate all of these aspects in your development plan.

Lastly you need to have values.  Values are the rules by which you play the game.  You want to have a well defined set of values that will attract people to you.  Such things as integrity, bringing value, placing your prospects needs first are just a few of the pieces that could make up your value system.

Take time to actually write out your values.  This will help you to crystallize them in your everyday life.  Remember the old saying: “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

The difference between winning and losing comes from within.  If you are not Winning the Sales Game, look at you.  See what is your mindset, your skills, and your values.  After an insightfully straight examination you can see what’s missing and put it in.

Happy Selling!!