Resting on your laurels is not an option in sales. In many professions, one big idea can carry someone for a career. In entertainment, a single hit record can make you famous. But in sales you must prove yourself every day, every week, every year. That is what makes you special. Most people can‘t take the pressure of having to continually perform at a high level.

If you had a great year, you must improve your skills to repeat it because your competition is upgrading their skills. If you had a less than stellar year, then you have to identify the reasons why your performance was not what you wanted and lay out a game plan to improve your performance.

There is no magic bullet. If you want to earn $200,000 in 2010 and your average commission is $5,000 then you must close 40 deals. If your closing average last year was 20% and you earned $100,000 then you must see twice as many prospects or increase your closing average to 40% or some combination of the two.

What is your plan? And as the book says, “Hope Is Not A Strategy.”

Let’s refer to our Italian friend, the great Pareto. You know, the guy who came up with the 80/20 rule. If you want a different result, you must replace activities that bring you pleasure with activities that bring results. Rarely are they the same activities. For instance, if you enjoy playing golf you may have to play fewer rounds and spend that time prospecting or practicing your presentation. Analyze all of your ratios (leads to appointments, appointments to presentations, presentations to sales, referral sales to non-referral sales, average contract size of wins versus average contract size of losses) and then target the ratio that will give you the most dramatic improvement in results. Decide today how much time you are going to devote to improving your performance. Then do it!

Posted in Ray's Rules by Ray Leone on January 19, 2010.