This year, ask yourself daily if you are being busy or productive. Get off the sales treadmill with the endless loop to nothing.

It’s first quarter and you have 12 months to achieve your sales quota.

Your focus is probably on what you are going to do. Perhaps it’s time to change your perspective and ask the question: What will you stop doing?

It’s easy to keep doing what you’re doing, even if it’s not producing the best and most consistent results. We get caught up in being busy, rather than productive.

Can anyone, besides me, relate to a picture of a gerbil on the treadmill? Hop off the sales treadmill, slow down, and analyze your business from last year.

Make it a goal to work smarter.

The first item on your working smarter agenda is conducting a win-loss analysis of sales. Do you know why you won business? Lost business?

If not, there is a good chance the only sales strategy you are deploying is the ‘shot in the dark’ approach.

Here are a few win-loss analysis questions to get you started on stopping.

Stop Calling On Cheap Prospects

The internet has changed the game of business and sales. Look for buyers and markets where the expertise and personal touch of a salesperson is still valued. For example, in our business, we focus on fast growth companies.

The vice president of sales in these organizations is stretched too thin. She values the shortcut we provide as her partner in training and coaching.

We also win business with prospects that are involved in a complex, business to business, sale where they sell on value, not price.

We don’t win business where sales are viewed as transactional because those prospects value only one thing: low price.

Stop Calling on Non-Decision Makers

You might be calling on the right vertical but not connecting with the right decision maker. This sales challenge is often misdiagnosed in sales organizations.

The CEO or sales director keeps preaching to the salesperson that he needs to call on the ‘C-suite.’

Sales leaders, apply some common sense. Your salesperson knows what to do. (You’ve had this conversation more than once.)

In over two decades of working with salespeople, I find that the real reason they are not calling on the right decision maker is due to lack of emotional intelligence skills such as self regard and assertiveness.

A salesperson with high self regard, shows up to sales meetings confident of his ability to hold a conversation with a buyer that has a bigger title and a bigger office.

He knows that he is an expert in his field and recognizes the contribution his product or service makes to a potential buyer’s business.

The salesperson lacking confidence spends most of his time worrying that he will get asked a question that he won’t have the answer to.

As a result, he doesn’t even ask for the meeting—he just sits in his office worrying about a sales meeting that is never going to happen!

Assertiveness is the ability to state what you need nicely, without becoming offensive or aggressive. Confident salespeople ask for what they need in order to conduct a win-win business transaction.

And what they need is an audience with the buyers who are going to be impacted by the buying decision. The non-assertive salesperson goes along to get along.

He is uncomfortable asking for the appropriate meetings and keeps ‘busy’ writing practice proposals.

Stop the Insanity

Insanity has been defined as doing the same behavior and expecting different results. Analyze your business and determine what sales activity is generating the most profitable sales.

Is it cold calling, email, referral partners, client referrals, social media, association involvement, speaking, PR? Your leads group might be fun. Is it yielding any results? You love tweeting and hooting.

Is your prospect listening and responding? You are on several association committees. Are you meeting anyone or putting in a lot of work for nothing?

This year ask yourself daily if you are being busy or productive. Get off the sales treadmill with the endless loop to nothing.

Call on the right prospects and meet with organizations that treat you like a partner and are willing to invest in your services.

Meet with the right decision makers and quit settling for low hanging fruit meetings.

Execute a business development plan that gets you an audience with the right prospects at the right level.

What will you stop doing?

About the author

Colleen Stanley

Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership Inc., a business development consulting firm specializing in…

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