This year may have been a great one for you. For others, you are celebrating simply because the year is over. As your year winds down, whether you sold as much as you planned or missed the mark, year end gives you time to reflect on what you’ve done. You may think there’s nothing to celebrate if you didn’t make your sales goals. You’re wrong. There is.
Give yourself some credit.
This is not meant for you if you did absolutely nothing this year. Luck is a part of selling, but hard, strategic work is more likely to predict success. This message is for you if you’ve made your goals every year and this year you fell short. If you’ve worked hard and missed the mark, there is something to be proud of. Look back at your work.
What did go well?
What did you learn? What are you proud of? Maybe you didn’t reach the total number of sales you wanted. Perhaps you retained many customers. You could have persistently worked at reaching an account and are in the process of developing it for sales next year. Maybe you executed a strategy only to find out that it wasn’t the best. You won’t continue implementing it and will change course next year.
These are certainly things that you can review and recognize as valuable contributions.
Prepare to work differently. In sales, especially, it’s hard to look back at a year when you missed achieving your goals. You must though, if only to decide how you’re going to proceed differently next year.
Use this year’s results to calibrate or redefine your efforts for next year. Is there someone you trust who you can talk with and examine what didn’t work and why? If you’re fortunate to have a great manager, that’s where you should start. If not, speak with a trusted sales peer. They understand the questions to ask: Was it too few calls you made that caused the shortfall? Was it calling on prospects who weren’t ideal customers? Did your turnover rate from prospects to customers fall short because customer needs were poorly identified?
Use the answers you uncover to plan for next year and do something different.
Don’t play the blame game.
Avoid wallowing in your feelings and blaming yourself. You might even find it helpful to talk to other salespeople who have reached their goals. Be selective. Some salespeople are known to exaggerate their accomplishments. Take the kernels of truth and learn from others and make your plans for next year. Stop comparing yourself to others. Simply take winning strategies and try to apply them to your work.
Ernest Hemingway was right. He said, “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” It’s the season to celebrate. Celebrate what you did accomplish this year. Then plan what you can do next year with what you have or have to learn.
Best wishes for your continued sales success!