Some years ago, I had a discussion with a real mentor who taught me a fundamental rule, one who has cursed with me ever since; I own every outcome. When times are prosperous and business is booming, that outcome is all mine, and nobody can take that far away from me. Likewise, if things were to vary and my revenues, sales, or business began to falter, I might be the owner of that outcome also. The rule was fundamentally this: at the top of the day – good or bad -, accountability was a two-way street.
It doesn’t take a genius to acknowledge that some verticals are considerably negatively suffering from the changes within the economy over these past 36 months. Sure, some industries are decimated while others have continued to flourish and grow. On the buyer side, discretionary spending collapsed. Most small and medium-size businesses have cut costs and dramatically reduced their balance sheets. Today, we operate in an environment where pricing plays an outsized role in our success (although that’s not the only piece of the puzzle). Remember, the economy still manufactures nearly $13 trillion in gross domestic product. This is often an enormous space to work in.
All in all, it’s a stiffer marketplace. So we adapt. Adjust. Confirm. Reinvent. Whatever it takes. What I even have discovered – and that I am not speaking for everybody – is: when business was booming, and folk was making money fork over fist, many did so no matter their behavior (or activity). The great times within the early 2000s through 2007 simply masked all of the bad habits of some sales organizations, their salespeople, and company owners. The logic was flawed; business was coming in so fast there was no real reason to vary . have you ever ever heard someone say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Well, there may be a better one (and remember it): if it ain’t broke, then you haven’t looked hard enough.
Whether you’re in sales, leading a sales organization, or the CEO of a whole company – if you’re unhappy together with your level of top-line (sales) growth, then you would like to ask yourselves what you’ll do differently today vs. what you were doing yesterday. Being accountable not only means you’re taking responsibility (and ownership) for each outcome; it also means you’re willing to form the required adjustments and alter direction (i.e., business plan). This is often one meaning of courage.
Here are five helpful tips which will aid your process of accountability and growth:
1) return to the fundamentals
revisit what made you successful early. Reevaluate your original sales process, goals, dreams, and productive daily behaviors. Reflect on what fueled your success early on; the basics. Remember, sometimes simple is best.
2) Become a student again
Open up an excellent sales book, commit yourself to a sales educational program or corporate sales training seminar; work with a sales coach or read articles written by other successful sales and business leaders. Sharpen your skills by feeding your brain. Never stop.
3) Learn to hunt
it is time to plant new seeds, travel out into the marketplace, and reach bent new companies and growth opportunities. Rebuild your book of business everywhere again (you haven’t any choice, so just do it; you will be so glad you did). If you are not hunting 50% of the time, you are not eating well. I will be able to back it.
4) Track your activity
Whether you’re just tracking your calls, conversations, appointments, sales – or maybe employing a customer relationship management tool – identify together with your numbers and ratios…all the time. I can not stress the importance of knowing your numbers and monitoring your individual data points on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
5) Quit making excuses
Excuses are nothing quite barriers to progress and alter. All we will do is move forward, keep fighting and retain the religion that within the end, everything will compute. Otherwise, you’re dead within the water, that established order will remain, and your results (and income) will still suffer.