Fourteen months ago, right around the conclusion of 2015, I remember reflecting on the year I had as a sales professional. I felt like I was someone who was producing average results, despite having above-average dreams and desires. Fast forward to this very moment, and I’m sitting on a plane to Mexico to celebrate the achievements of this past year: 2017 President’s Club.
Not only did I surpass my performance of the prior year, but I more than doubled my performance in every category, sold over $1,000,000 of new business for our software product, and won our award for the Sr. Account Executive of the Year.
If you want to change your results, then you absolutely need to change your behavior. As I look back on these last couple years, there have been some fundamental shifts that have helped me produce drastically different outcomes.
Here’s a list of seven adjustments I made:
1) I sold myself.
I became absolutely convinced that I was more than capable of crushing my targets, and that I was the man for the job. I recognized that before I could sell anyone else, I needed to “sell” myself and believe that I would be highly successful. Prior to this shift, I remember looking for high-performing leaders in the company to essentially help me close business if I got that “closing call” opportunity with key decision makers or needed advice during the closing part of the process.
Now, I want the ball in my hands. I want to take the last shot. There’s not an ounce of me that believes I will miss that shot. Once you get this swagger and confidence, I promise you that you will create an enormous amount of momentum.
2) I ignored the common perceptions of “what’s possible."
I also declared my mentality to other business leaders in our company. Because of this, I was able to set records for most dollars sold and number of deals sold within a given month for my segment. I remember telling one of our new reps recently, “Don’t look at your quota for too long, it will lower your standards.” You need to absolutely forget about what anyone else has done at your company and essentially “create” a new reality. Blow your quota out of the water and never settle.
3) I took absolute control of my sales process.
This is easier said than done when executed effectively. I’d happily write a post on this topic alone, because it takes a lot of explanation. The simple fact is, average- and low-performing reps do not have control of their process. The most classic example is when a prospect tells you, “I’ll get back to you in a few weeks.” I can’t tell you how rare this statement has become for me now. I first ask, then I listen, then I assume absolute control. I’m the expert, the director, the consultant, and the trusted adviser.
Look at it this way, I don’t go to the doctor and say, “Hey doc, here’s my problem: I have a tumor growing inside of me, so we’re going to need to do some imaging tests in two weeks. In the meantime, here are the pills you will prescribe me, and we’ll plan to do the surgery in one month. Be sure to do the incision below my shoulder blade and I’ll show you which equipment I’d like you to use.” Sound unlikely and highly ineffective? A good doctor takes total control!
4) I set huge goals -- and I hit them, too.
The key part of this is you have to qualify yourself. I used to feel like I had a smaller capacity. It’s ridiculous how much we hold ourselves back by consciously or subconsciously believing we are incapable of achieving massive results. We compare ourselves to others and see ourselves as inferior. Most importantly, we set low targets or refuse to set big targets and instantly give ourselves a huge disadvantage with this state of mind which is ultimately going to dictate the trajectory of our growth and results. Prior to this shift, I didn’t even realize that I was holding myself back by setting average targets.
5) I focused on MVPs.
MVP is an acronym my dad gave me meaning the most valuable and profitable. What are your most valuable and profitable activities, contacts, opportunities, hours of the day, etc.? Bottom line: Make an intentional effort to figure out what drives your sales and productivity more than anything else and focus the majority of your time and effort around those things. It sounds so simple, yet so many people are wasteful of when and where they direct their attention. I sure used to be.
6) I took massive action.
Ordinary and average activity will create ordinary and average results. I made the shift from doing what everyone else was doing to taking a massive amount of action in every critical area of my sales process and overall development. Instead of having an average-sized pipeline, making an average amount of phone calls, and sending an average amount of emails, I started thinking about how I could become more efficient by taking big action. Not only have I been able to get more done and waste less time, I give myself more at bats and the quality of my work is better through repetition. When it’s “game time” and I have a huge call with a room of decision makers, it’s second nature and muscle memory! I thrive in the moment and actually crave the stage and it’s because I take massive action.
7) I always moved forward.
Every situation and season is now treated as an opportunity to push forward, improve, and produce better results. There is no question that in the last couple years, I’ve faced my own set of trials. The old way of thinking for me was to contract, shrink, step back, and ultimately take a turn for the worse. Now it doesn’t matter what happens, there is always a reason to get better and move forward.
Once you get great at what you do, expect people to hate you and try to take you down, expect controversy and expect obstacles to get in your way. The difference for me is I’ve been able to use these things as fuel to my fire. Even when things haven’t gone well for me, it’s created an inner fight to get better and do whatever it takes to turn things around. What about when things are smooth sailing? I use these situations to create momentum. Let’s face it, it’s fun to dominate. I remember when I closed my first giant deal -- I woke up in the morning with a skip to my step and it created even more hunger. The point is that every single stage that you are in is a natural excuse to surge forward.
So there you have it. I remained the same person, yet doubled my results and I’m convinced you can too. I’d love to hear your story, perspective, or feedback in the comments. Happy selling!
Editor's note: This post originally appeared on LinkedIn and has been republished here with permission.