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January 15, 2014

Anneli Thomson, Managing Director


Salespeople have to be a little crazy. We get up every day and pursue a career that includes rejec­tion, uncomfort­able phone calls, tough negotia­tions and psy­chological battles with prospects, clients and even ourselves. Do you ever find yourself asking, “Why do I do it?”

We are all working towards our goals. We’re working to achieve the kind of lifestyle we want for ourselves and our families. A ca­reer in business development is a fantastic path to take you to those goals – if you can muster up the attitudes and behaviours to be successful. It takes a special something to be a successful business person in sales, and for me, that special something is ac­countability.

Successful salespeople don’t make cold calls so their boss can take a nicer vacation this year. They do the challenging behaviours so they can attain their business, personal and financial goals. They know what they want ther life to look like in 2 years, 5 years, even 10 years. They know what they need to do to get there. Planning is the easy part; it’s the execution that requires the extra effort. Whether you’ve been in the business for 10 months or 10 years, take a moment to answer this question: “Who am I account­able to?”

So who are you accountable to? Is it your sales manager? The owner, CEO or President of your compa­ny? Your spouse? Your business partner? Who makes sure you are accountable?

If “me” wasn’t your first response it’s time to make a change. In reality at the end of the day, you are the only one who can truly hold yourself accountable. No one has a gun to your head screaming, “Prospect or I’ll pull the trigger!” (If you do it might be time to start considering your options.) You are 100% respon­sible for your own success, because only you can follow through on the behaviours. No matter who is supervising you or who you go home to, the one person who can guarantee that you achieve what you are capable of achieving is you. So grab your lunchbox, hop on the accountability train and strap in… but with fair warning – it might be a bumpy ride.

If you’re struggling to overcome call reluctance and head trash, hop on the account­ability train last. The best decision you can make is to haul someone on there with you. Road trips are always more fun with a wingman.

Every week take a half hour and discuss what you’ve both accomplished, or didn’t accomplish, for the week. Exchange how you each did on prospecting calls, how many dials you made, which tools you used from your tool­box, and what attitude issues you battled that week. Discuss specific situations, coach each other through them, and have the conver­sations needed to make sure you’re both staying accountable. In Sandler we talk about support groups as a vital component of our ‘Formula for Success’. If you are trying to drive the train alone, you don’t have to.

Accountability is what separates the complacent from the winners. The train is sitting at the station, all you have to do is make the choice to board it, and be ac­countable enough to drive yourself to new levels of success.

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