One of the biggest challenges that salespeople (and their managers) face is performing consistently. Anybody can have a great month or quarter, but those who can deliver month in and month out are the highest paid and most valued performers. It’s like the difference between a one-hit wonder band and the Rolling Stones.
But, how do you become more consistent, especially when things can change so quickly all around you? Maybe you’re getting less leads, or maybe all of your prospects decided to go on vacation at once. What can you do about that?
You’re more in control of your own destiny than you might think. Here are some steps you can take to ensure a more steady performance, rather than the roller coaster that many salespeople find themselves on.
1. Have a plan (and stick to it)
Consistency is all about your behavior. The best way to ensure you engage in the right behavior is to have a plan. In sales, an effective plan prioritizes prospecting, following-up, and closing. So it’s critical that you set aside key blocks of time every single day to do these things.
Some people block off calendar time, while others prefer making a daily list and crossing each item off as they get through it (and making sure they do get through it before giving up for the day). Whichever method you prefer, if you want to be more consistent, you’re more likely to get there by moving away from the “winging it” method and towards the planning method.
2. Prioritize effectively
Which will help you perform more consistently: following up with leads you pitched last week or cleaning out your spam folder? Obviously following up with leads is more likely to help you reach your sales goals.
It’s important to remember that there will always be other things that try to pull your attention away from prospecting, pitching, and closing, whether those things are professional or personal. The key to consistency is to always prioritize the things that move the needle for you, no matter what else is happening (within reason). Consistency is about doing the important things constantly.
3. Learn how to manage your emotions
Consistency is linked to behavior, which is oftentimes linked to how you feel. If you’re feeling down and unmotivated, then you’re likely to put in less effort than if you’re pumped up and ready to take on whatever comes your way.
Consistent performers have learned how to take action despite how they feel. Everybody has their ups and downs and can lose motivation from time to time. The difference is that some people push through those days without letting it affect them too much, while others wait until the feeling passes before they start to be productive again.
4. Know your numbers
Numbers don’t lie, which is why it can be difficult to face them head on. Fewer salespeople go deep into their metrics than you might expect. However, the ones that do give themselves a huge advantage over their coworkers.
By looking at your behaviors and their outcomes objectively using figures, you can understand what’s working, where you need to improve, and how much work you need to do to hit your goals. Instead of being afraid to look at numbers, use them to your advantage to influence your behavior. The signs will point to where you need to focus, which will put you on a path to better consistency.
5. Eliminate distractions
You rarely see top performers standing around in an office huddle discussing their disappointment with the Game of Thrones season finale. That’s not to say they never procrastinate or that they spend the entire day working silently. But, they do spend the overwhelming majority of their time focused on their pipeline.
It can be tempting to spend the daylight hours scrolling through twitter, shooting the breeze with the person sitting next to you, or even on mindless work-related tasks that offer a nice distraction from the mentally difficult challenges of prospecting. But it’s the tasks that we’re looking to avoid that usually make the biggest difference. So, make sure you prioritize them far above any distractions.
6. Take care of your health
If you’re constantly run-down, uncomfortable, or in pain, then it’s going to be difficult to be consistent. Your health is more important than any paycheck or career opportunity, but it’s also inexorably linked to both.
Prioritize your physical (and mental) health: eat better, sleep more, exercise, and there’s little doubt that you’ll see better results at work. Being more consistent starts with feeling more consistent, which starts with taking better care of your body and mind. Similarly, the benefits of being more disciplined with your health are likely to spill over into your sales life.