(Oct. 7)—In sales, things often don't go according to plan. But without clear goals, well thought-out plans to reach them, and critical reviews of what went right and what went wrong along the way, reps can stunt their own growth. So says Jacqui Sakowski, a Madison, Wisconsin-based sales training consultant and founder of Selling ExtraNets, who recommends reps regularly assess their performance and ask themselves a few key questions:
- How often do you make a tactical plan to win a specific client or piece of business?
- How often do you participate in some specific training to make your tactics more effective?
- How often do you role-play a phone call or meeting to make sure you're as prepared as possible to execute the tactics you settled upon?
- How often can you identify with a high degree of certainty the turning point in the discussion that led you to winning business?
"Top performers train endlessly—almost obsessively—to make sure that they are ready when the moment to perform presents itself," she says. "Afterward, they review what happened to see how actual events compared to the plans. Every day, take a few minutes to identify what went well; what didn't go so well; how to incorporate more of the good things into daily activities; how to eliminate the not-so-good. That way every day we grow a little smarter, a little more effective and a little more successful. If every day is a little better than the day before, we will enjoy increased success over the long haul."