Five Questions to Ask Yourself Looking Back at 2012

At some point between now and the ball drop, you are likely to slow down enough to ask yourself—or be asked—the question, “How was your 2012?” Naturally, you are bound by the International Laws of Sales to give an upbeat, positive and optimistic response.

But when you get a quiet moment—or either a shot of truth serum or tequila in you (same thing)—you should give that query some serious consideration and expand it from one question to five:

  1. Did I do my best work?
  2. Am I happy with the outcome?
  3. Did I do my job?
  4. If my sales grew, what was the source of the new business?
  5. If my sales didn’t grow, why not?

• Did you do your best work?
If you can honestly answer this question with an unequivocal and 100 percent “Yes!” then you can put your funny hat back on and proceed with your New Year’s Eve partying. But do so ONLY if you feel that you upheld the fourth of the Four Sales Agreements (the others being Be Impeccable with Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, And Never Make Assumptions). Chances are, there is room for improvement in your sales process and in your sales day.

• Are you happy with the outcome?
Your answer here is subjective. If you’re happy, I’m happy. Kumbaya hugs all around! If you’re not happy with the way things turned out, ask yourself what sales activities you need to partake in next year so that, when you ask the same question a year from now, you will have a different answer. Make a list. Check it twice.

• Did you do your job?

Think before you answer this one. “Doing your job” covers a lot of ground. Do not answer on the basis of the results. This question is designed to get you to focus on whether you performed the right sales activities that lead to those results.

• If your sales grew, what did you do right?

Just as it’s important to examine what you did wrong (see next question), it’s good to think about what you did right during the year. Why are your sales up? Did you do in exemplary job of bringing in new business? Did you grow your existing customer base? Did the guy who sits next to you die and leave his accounts to you in his will? Whatever you did, keep doing it.

• If your sales did not grow, what did you do wrong?

Perhaps you did nothing. But it might be true that your sales did not grow because you simply weren’t doing enough prospecting. Be honest with yourself and fess up to any shortcomings in this department.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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