• Duane Cashin

Why You Shouldn't Make Sales Resolutions

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

It’s New Year’s Day. If you’re anything like me, yesterday was your last day of “indulgence”. Today starts the new path of eating right, getting a healthy dose of exercise each week, sleeping more, working smarter, you name it. Resolutions come easy this time of year.

It’s the follow-through that stinks.

Years ago, a friend of mine owned a gym. A significant percentage of his annual revenue, he said, occurred in January. He’d sign anyone and everyone up, never worrying about overcrowding in his relatively small fitness center. Why? Because by mid-February, he could walk through the facility with ease and never see anyone waiting for equipment. 

We all know why this is. Everyone’s desire for fitness spikes toward the end of the calendar year, but their New Year’s resolution (the commitment) fades rapidly when the “pain” of doing the physical work becomes reality. 

This happens in sales, too. Whether it’s prospecting for new business, social selling, or walking away from low probability opportunities, the majority of salespeople quickly slide back to their old ways.

70% of the lower half of salespeople have strong motivation, and fewer than 50% of that group have a strong commitment. The next 35% see commitment scores jump to 80%, but the percentage of salespeople who take full responsibility for any lack of performance is only 34% and 46% respectively.

I speak with sales leaders all the time who lament the fact that a high percentage of new hires fail to become productive and veterans often lag, too. This is a common problem, and it all boils down to the fact that most sales leaders are good at motivation but weak at holding salespeople accountable and managing their behavior.

That’s a big problem because creating sustainable change in a sales force requires sales leaders to change what they do, how they do it, and the frequency and cadence of the interactions with their salespeople. To accomplish this, sales leaders must hold their sales representatives accountable and provide them with ongoing coaching.

Jump back to my fitness resolution for a minute. How much more successful do you think I would be this year if I had a personal trainer guiding my workouts, managing my food plan, and calling me on the phone on the days I skipped the gym? A lot. 

Your salespeople need you to be a personal trainer of sorts (and you need one too).

New Year’s Day is the perfect time to assess and reset our goals for the coming year. Don’t set resolutions; we know those fail. Instead, take some time today to ask yourself:

Change is uncomfortable. That’s why resolutions fail.

So, instead of just resolving to change, ask yourself, "Am I really committed to becoming a strong sales leader, and what must I change to make that happen?" ​ If the answer to the first question is yes, give us a call. Together, we’ll help you answer that second question and get you on the path to making 2020 your best year yet.

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