Your Sales Check-Up

By Lain Chroust Ehmann

No professional athletes would dare enter a big competition without knowing where they stand in terms of their health. Just as athletes are concerned about their oxygen intake, muscle strength and stamina, salespeople also need to know how they’re faring. Give yourself a periodic sales checkup by seeing how you measure up in these areas.

Where does your buck stop? The most successful athletes take full responsibility for their own success. Top sellers don’t blame the company, the product, the marketing department, the economy or the competition for their failures, says consultant Jill Konrath of Instead, they hold themselves accountable by asking questions such as: How can I…? or What can I…?

How’s your focus? Marathoners know that what matters is who makes it to the finish line first, not who’s ahead in the first lap. Likewise, the best salespeople focus on the long-term as well as the short-term. They work on developing relationships, not on getting the sale. Ann Barr, author of 102 Tips for Profitable Telephone and Direct Mail Marketing (e-book available from, reminds salespeople that it takes an average of seven contacts within 18 months to win a new customer.

How are your sales habits? Nutritious meals and rigorous training are part of the daily routine for champion athletes. Sales champions also need to adopt healthy sales habits. Barr knows one telesales star who incorporates these daily habits:

  • Arrive at the office 45 minutes early
  • Plan the day and create a list of action items
  • Set phone call and sales goals
  • Tell everyone what those goals are
  • Begin outbound calls at a specific time
  • Never complete fewer than 45 calls per day.

Is there any surprise that with habits like these, she’s on or near the top of her departmental sales chart each month?

Do you plan or do you execute? Creating the ultimate goal list won’t do a lick of good if you don’t turn those goals into actionable items – and then act on them! You won’t get stronger if you don’t go to the gym, and you won’t get the sale if you don’t make the call. Make a commitment to your success by analyzing your failures as well as your successes, suggests Konrath. Generate a list of what you need to improve on to be your best – and then make it happen!

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