Make habits your goal this year

Each year we’re encouraged to make new year’s resolutions and set goals for the coming months. But resolutions almost always fail to be accomplished.

Why do resolutions fail?

Essentially resolutions fail because they are goals without action plans. Everyone sets goals – from adopting new diets, drinking less, doing a million in commission, getting fitter, etc. These are empty targets though without the necessary plan to achieve them and they’re far too easy to say because they are just too generic.

Instead, make your goals achievable by creating a process that moves you towards your goal each day. For example, if your goal is to become fitter, then first you’ll need to define what ‘fitter’ means, what that outcome looks like. ie. run a marathon. Then in order to achieve that goal, start the necessary habits you’ll need to do every day to move towards your goal. ie. going for a walk every day, moving to a run each day, increasing the length of run over time, etc. These daily habits work automatically to make you fitter and eventually you’ll achieve your goal of running a marathon.

So, applying this to your sales environment this year, if your resolution is to make more sales, first you need to define that goal. Give yourself a target number that is larger than last year and will give you a sense of pride in achieving it. Then set up the daily habits that will give you the best chance to make those sales. Define the practices that give you the best chance of creating leads, following up leads, delivering proposals, and ultimately making a sale.

Habits that might benefit the sales process include:

  • setting a minimum number of cold calls per day
  • writing a marketing email once per week
  • making a minimum number of appointments with prospects each week
  • attending at least one networking event per month
  • writing a blog article per week on the company website
  • posting on linkedin and other social media daily

Your industry-specific habits are probably well known but you can sit down with your sales team colleagues and define what practices and habits help give the best chance of a sale. Here, a CRM can help with the analysis of each individual’s behaviour over a set period and their sales results. ie. how many calls on average does it take to get a meeting? Take these results from your KPIs and create a set of habits that you’ll do every day, week, month to drive you forward automatically towards your end goal of ‘more sales’.

Once these habits are defined, they’ll become programmed into your daily routine and you’ll end up doing them on autopilot. It’s important to realise that missing completing one of your habits on a day doesn’t ruin your chances of completing your goal. Everyone can get sick, have an off day, go on holiday, etc. These habits are not binary – if they aren’t achieved the whole goal doesn’t fall apart.

“Outcomes are the results of process. Good processes repeated over time lead to good outcomes more often than lazy processes do. Focussing solely on outcomes forces us to make choices that are banal, short term or selfish. It takes our focus away from the journey and encourages us to give up too early”

Seth Godin, The Practice

Seth Godin, in his book, The Practice, introduces the idea of recurring habits as practice. Football players practice their skills on a daily basis and so do professionals, such as doctors and lawyers. Doctors practice medicine, Lawyers practice law. Thus the concept of continually practising something makes us better at it. Regular habits, done on autopilot, will benefit your chances of sales success. Practising those habits daily will move us towards our desired outcome (goal).

You can track your habits and ensure you meet your individual targets in your CRM. Set up a report to monitor your calls, appointments, leads created, etc. and have it automatically emailed to you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis with a workflow. Knowing that you’re keeping up your habits reinforces your practice.

In Summary:

  1. Define generic resolutions into specific goals
  2. Define best practices that can be made into regular habits to work towards your goal
  3. Build your habits into a comprehensive plan of actions
  4. Have a contingency or backup plan in place to keep you on track
  5. Monitor your habits in your CRM with KPI reports