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Reflections of a sales guy on a ‘good day’

For anyone whom has been reading my blog bettercorporatelife.com or hanging out with me for the past decade or so, you would know that I am a big believer of reflection in the workplace.

Further, having been in sales for the past oh…20 years and then mostly in leadership – you need to be on your toes constantly so reflection has a powerful impact in these two domains as well.

Often I will be reflecting on ‘what is important right now…’ as regularly as every 15 minutes.

In sales and leadership, like most professions I guess, you can be exposed to sage advice or street wisdom and at times this can stick. If you know what I mean you can close your eyes and recall at least one, like ABC ‘Always be closing’.

In 2012 one of my wise and incredibly powerful vice presidents said something in a meeting that stuck with me.

‘If you reflect on your day consider, have I identified a deal, progressed a deal or closed a deal. If you can answer yes to one of those questions then you’ve had a good day.’

I have written before that in my first few weeks at IBM a new colleague turned the corner at 5pm one afternoon groaning and sighing what a full on but effective day they had just finished. When I asked them what had made it so good they told me ‘I just spent the last 8 hrs getting my email in order.’ I think my response was ‘oh’.

As a sales person or sales leader (and I include in this pre-sales, marketing and others…) your focus and reason for employment is to i) find new deals ii) progress them and iii) close them – there is little or no other reason for your role to exist. Relationship Management is a by-product but if your employer wanted just relationship management or this was a primary function then they could hire someone at 1/3 of your salary and they would cover 3x as many clients. I know of many examples like this in operation right now.

Often, especially if we don’t reflect or we do it too late, we can forget the fundamental principles of what a good day looks like. One of the greatest dangers for sales people (..again pre-sales, marketing as well..) is that they don’t have a plan to succeed and they don’t reflect on their performance. This can then result in the metaphorical tap on the shoulder where they are forced into building a success plan.

Therefore, no matter how good you are, there is a place for constant reflection. Whether you have your own sage advice or you borrow the one I ripped off the uber important VP – make sure you build some time to reflect. If you find yourself doing the wrong things then stop and re-orientate before somebody comes along to help you. Cheers,

P.S. Please comment and share your sage sales advice!

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