Sales in the New Year: Helping Your Team Make Resolutions That Stick

It’s easy for your sales team to get into a bit of a rut over the holidays. Life is busy, the weather is bad, and it can be a real downer trying to progress sales prospects when all they’re thinking about is going on vacation.

But the good news is, the holidays are over, your sales team has survived them, and there’s a brand new year waiting for them, ready to be filled with incredible successes and accomplishments.

How are you going to help them go after success this year? Here are some tips to help them get their new sales year off on the right track.

Think Positively

Have you ever hung out with a real complainer? Someone who found something wrong with everything, and couldn’t seem to find anything good about anything? If you have, then you know how hard it is to stay positive around those kinds of people.

Nurturing a positive attitude is important not just for the success of your individual sales representatives, but for the ongoing health of your entire team. Help your reps to cultivate the attitude of a winner. Instead of taking a glass-half-empty approach, help them to turn things around and see that glass as half full. Before they can change their situation or outcomes, they must start by changing their own thinking. Visualization leads to victory.

Thinking positively is a habit, and it can be developed, like any other habit, by repetition. Don't expect your sales team to simply know intuitively how to think positively. Teach them positive thinking exercises and encourage them to practice every day. Consider starting your sales meetings with a positive thinking exercise to emphasize its importance and help them get in the habit. Tell them that before they go to bed at night, they should think back and remember at least one thing that went well that day. When they wake up in the morning, they should take a moment to visualize the best thing they plan on doing that day.

Positive thinking is important for everyone, but especially for sales people, who work very hard and deal with a lot of rejection. Thinking positively will help your team rise above the little setbacks and keep their eyes on the prize!

Set Concrete Goals

Setting goals (and achieving them) is one of the most effective ways to measure and improve sales performance. But all goals are not created equal, and setting the wrong kind of goals can be worse than setting none at all. To be effective, a goal should be specific, measurable, and appropriately-sized.

How do you help your sales representatives make sure their goals fit those criteria? Let’s take a look at a few examples and see how they stack up.

Make the goal specific.

Of course ultimately what all your sales representatives want is to improve their selling skills. But a goal to "improve my selling skills," for example, doesn’t give you a whole lot to work with. More specific goals might be, “knock X doors each day” or “improve my closing ratio.” Honing in on something specific helps your sales team direct their efforts toward something achievable rather than getting overwhelmed with improving everything all at once. And once they’ve achieved one specific goal, they can move on to another. Goals and resolutions don't have to be just a once-a-year event.

One of the best ways to encourage your sales representatives to make specific goals is to tell them to pick one of their weakest sales skills and choose to improve it. Maybe they do a great job of pounding the pavement, but have a hard time getting past gatekeepers. So they should set a goal to improve that skill. If they're stuck with figuring out what skills they should work on first, be ready with suggestions for what they might be able to improve. Not only should you be ready to help them identify good goals, but you should also consider helping them work out a plan to achieve them.

Make the goal measurable.

Don’t let them get away with an open-ended goal like, “make more sales.” Instead, help them choose a measurable number and time frame; perhaps “make X sales this month.” You can encourage them to further break down this goal, figuring out how many sales per week they need to make to hit their monthly goal, and how many contacts they need to make for each sale. That way they’ll always know how close they are to meeting their goals.

Make the goal appropriately-sized.

The goals your sales representatives set should inspire them without overwhelming them. Gently redirect them away from setting sky-high goals you’re sure they can’t achieve. But don’t let them settle for mediocre goals that won’t take them anywhere. Help each member of your team choose an exciting goal that stretches them, but that they can imagine themselves achieving.

It's one of those laws of the universe: Every time you set and achieve a goal, you become more powerful. By setting and achieving goals, your sales representatives will gain two things: skill, and confidence in their own abilities. With each goal accomplished, their ability to set and achieve more demanding goals will increase. The more goals they set and achieve, the more powerful they will become.

Develop a Strong Work Ethic

One of the characteristics that all successful sales people have in common is that they work hard. It’s impossible for your team to accomplish their goals if they don’t invest the necessary time and work into them.

It's your job to help your team understand that their habits create a landscape of opportunity. One of the most important habits they can cultivate is the habit of working hard. Spending more time working hard leads to more opportunities for success. Emphasize to your team the importance of choosing to dedicate an appropriate number of hours to work each day, and making every minute of every hour count. Don’t let them settle for putting in the bare minimum—encourage them to go the extra mile!

The new year is a perfect time to remind your team that working in sales gives them an advantage and opportunity that most people just don’t have—they have the power to control their own income, create their own success, and shape their own destiny. Choosing to work hard and put in the time they need to succeed will make all the difference in what they achieve and who they become.

Help your sales representatives take charge of their own future this year by cultivating a positive attitude, setting and steadily working toward specific and measurable goals, and developing a strong work ethic.

How can Netpique's sales outsourcing experts help you to achieve your sales goals in the new year? Contact us today for a free consultation!