Sixty Seconds to Sales Success

Last Updated May 2, 2008 10:41 AM EDT

Minute timer.There are few silver bullets when it comes to achieving sales success. Here's one, and the best part is, that for most people, it will only take 60 seconds, because they won't get past the first question.

This seriously valuable process comes from Greg Wingard, the author of numerous books including Your Best Year Yet! (Pinnacle, 2007). What's even cooler is that this process works for virtually any human endeavor, not just sales. I used it to hone my writing skills and as well as to help the sales component of my business.

Here's what you do. Find a place and time that's free of all distractions. When you're calm and focused, ask yourself the first question. If the answer is "no" then you can move to the next question. If the answer is "yes", follow the instructions. Here are the questions:

  1. Is there a fundamentally important behavior or activity that I've been neglecting? If you're failing on the basics, trying to become more successful in sales is a waste of time. For example, if you're not priming your pipeline, improve your questioning skills is foolish, because you'll soon have nobody to question.
    INSTRUCTIONS: If the answer is no, move to the next question. If the answer is yes, commit to doing what you've been neglecting. Then do it. Revisit this process in one month.
  2. Do I have a non-productive behavior that is keeping me from succeeding? If you're working the basics, but doing something that is actively impeding sales, you need to identify it, and stop doing it. For example, if you're spending an hour a day surfing the internet when you should be sending out customer emails, it's going to take longer to develop customer accounts.
    INSTRUCTIONS: If the answer is no, then move to the next question. If the answer is yes, commit to spending less time on the distracting activity. Then do it. Revisit this process in one month.
  3. Is there a fundamentally positive behavior that I need to upgrade? If you're working the basics and not doing anything that's impeding sales, look at what you're doing right. Find the behavior or skill that, if you improved it, you'd be able to move your selling abilities to the next level. For example, you've got your process up and running smoothly, so improving your closing skills will generate the greatest uptick in sales.
    INSTRUCTIONS: If the answer is no, then move to the next question. If the answer is yes, commit to getting trained or coached to get better at what you're already good at. Then do it. Revisit this process in one month.
  4. What behavior, if automatic, would bring me the greatest level of success? Once you've done all the above, then it's time to really look at the big picture. What is a skill or habit which today is totally foreign to you but which would also propel you to a level of success far beyond your current state? For example, you're the top sales rep when it comes to million-dollar systems sold to IT managers. What habit or skill could you acquire that would make it easy for you to calls on top CEOs and win corporate wide business worth hundreds of millions of dollars?
    INSTRUCTIONS: Now that you've laid the groundwork by achieving a "YES" in the first three areas, figure out what you need to do to reach the next level of success. Then do it. Revisit this process in six months.
How far did you get? And did you learn something useful?