I’ve heard lots of grumblings from business owners and Sales pros that they have their heads down and just need to ‘get through’ 2009.  They are looking forward to a great 2010.


It’s not time to give up on 2009!!  There are 8 full work weeks left in 2009 – that is 15% of the year left!  And in some industries, sales in the last 8 weeks can account for 30-40% of their annual sales.

To help everyone – this is a plan I am following myself – I’m going to lay out an 8 week plan with specific actions each week for you to take so you can end this year strong AND begin to set yourself up for a fantastic 2010!  But I’m not giving you the whole plan at once – just one focused step each week.  Adding these actions to your already packed week is plenty for you to take on.

Week 1 (October 26, 2009)

A hard look. 

This week take a hard look at several areas that are going to help you identify and diagnose where you are right now, what is helping, what is in the way.  If you don’t stop and evaluate first, you won’t be able to define the right roadmap and actions for yourself.

For your hard look this week, you will need data and a place (paper and pen is good) to write your responses.   Look at your:

  1. Results for 2009 to date.  Do you notice any patterns?  How do the results compare to 2008?  2007?
  2. Activity level.  How does what you are doing each week and each day compare to 2008?  2007?
  3. Surroundings.  Who is with you?  What kind of support do they provide?  Are they lifting you?  Leaning on you?
  4. Beliefs and attitude.  Did you believe you were going to meet your numbers this year?  Did you believe you could achieve despite anything going on in the economy?  How has what you believed this year displayed itself in your attitude? Your actions?  Have you psyched yourself out of more success this year?
  5. Goals.  Where are your goals right now?  Are they visible?  Are they written?  Do you have weekly activities identified?      magic-8-ball

Next?  Answer these questions in response to your hard look:

  • What do you think/feel when you consider your responses?  How are you contributing or holding yourself back?
  • Is your activity level high enough to achieve what you need to?  This doesn’t mean the number of hours you are working – consider the actions you are taking.  What can you do to make sure that you are focused and working on the right things?
  • What have you surrounded yourself with?  Messages, reminders and people that can help you be more productive?  Or energy zappers?  What adjustments in your surroundings would help you focus and buckle down these last 8 weeks?
  • Describe your attitude and energy level today.  How does this affect your contacts?  Your prospects?  Your follow-up activities?  Your confidence?
  • Are your goals clear?  Have you committed yourself to measurable goals or taken a ‘let’s see what happens’ approach this year?  Are your goals written realistically?  Did you really consider where you want/need to end up?  And then put together a plan of action that will get you there?  What have you done to plan for obstacles that will need to be worked through?

Did you take this seriously and put your responses down on paper?  Or just mentally think these through?  It’s amazing how easy it is to fool ourselves into what we want to believe by not looking at specifics.

As I coach sales pros and managers, I listen to their reactions to questions such as what I just laid out above.  Then we get out pen, paper and reports to substantiate their first responses.  Know what we find?  That the hard reality is usually 20-35% different than the initial response.

So, if you really want to make the most of your time and efforts, get out hard data, write hard notes and NOW you have something realistic to work with.

We’ll build off this in Week 2 as we look at Setting the Target.

What do you think?  Is now the time to do this type of hard look?  Should we wait  until the end of the year?  Are you ready to write off 2009?