January 4, 2021

You Have a Critical Choice on This 1st Business Day of 2021

Not sure there’s ever been more collective agreement on a single topic than the universal desire to close the book on last year and put 2020 in the rear-view mirror!

The good news? It’s over. Congratulations. You made it.

The even better news? Sales Friends, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

You are going to make it through the rest of craziness stemming from the pandemic.

However, as we kickoff 2021, YOU are faced with a most critical choice about your attitude on this first business day of the year. And this choice is not dissimilar from the choice we had to face ten months ago when this virus first hit. In fact, I can make the case that our choice is easier today because back in March we were caught completely off guard and truly had no clue how this would play out. Today, we have the benefit of hindsight, experience, and a clearer picture of what lies ahead – at least for the near-term.

Back in March when the magnitude of what we were facing started sinking in, as strongly as I could, I challenged sellers and sales leaders to choose focus over fear and positivity and perseverance over pity parties and panic.  I reminded readers that professional salespeople drive the economy and that it was our responsibility to keep proactively pursuing new business and delivering value to our customers. I made it my mission to exhort salespeople to stay on mission (in posts like this one), and I continued to post sales success stories to remind my audience that many colleagues were successfully “leading/selling through crisis.”

And above all, I urged executives, sales managers, and sales teams, despite having to navigate uncharted airspace, heavy turbulence, and strong headwinds, to Fly. The. Airplane., and that even when locked down and forced to sell or lead virtually, the fundamentals of sales and sales management remained the same.

[Author’s Note: Please understand that with the good news presented below, in no way am I attempting to minimize the real pain, loss, grief, and even death that so many have experienced during this incredibly challenging season. This isn’t naïve, pollyannaish, happy talk. There are real successes to celebrate coming out of 2020, and I feel compelled to share them while also encouraging readers that there are better, easier, more profitable days ahead.]

Last week as the sun set on 2020, many clients and sales friends from around the globe shared (emailed, called, texted, LinkedIn messaged) their year-end results. I’ve never been more proud to be part of the sales community! I. Was. Blown. Away. by the sheer volume of successes…

From a great sales leader on the west coast whose customer base has been turned upside-down by lockdowns: I wanted to quickly share that we, like so many other sales organizations, marched through some tough headwinds in 2020. I’m pleased to report we have achieved our pre-Covid sales budget for 2020 and came very close to replicating our record results from 2019."

From the 2019 Account Executive of the Year at a large services company who continued to dominate in 2020: “Amazing year including several record months – all while moonlighting as a 2nd grade teacher.”

From Tom and Ron, the two best salespeople on this planet who I profiled in Chapter 15 of Sales Truth:  Tom (B2C) continued his streak as his brand’s #1 salesperson in North America and had two record months in 2020, one while his facility wasn’t even open to walk-in traffic. Ron (B2B) blew away his 2020 goal and set personal and company records by closing the biggest deal of his long, storied career.

There’s Dana’s sales leadership success story and Dominic’s  blowout year – each featured in their own episode of the recently launched Sales Management. Simplified. Podcast.

And amazingly, I can report after closing the books last week that our little sales improvement firm ended the year with a significant increase in revenue over 2019 – despite the fact that such a hefty portion of our business comes from live, in-person speaking/training/workshops (of which countless events were cancelled or postponed due to travel/meeting restrictions).

Why highlight all of these successes? Because they’re real. Because creative, talented, driven, focused sellers and sales leaders did amazing work last year and many reaped the rewards from adapting to what became the “new (at least temporary) normal.” No one is saying it was easy – because it wasn’t. And no one is promising you similar results because everyone’s situation is different. BUT, as we begin 2021 on this first business day of year, each of us has a choice:

We can choose to attack 2021 with everything we’ve got. Or, we can play the victim and offer plenty of good reasons (excuses) why we won’t win big this year. It is a choice that every single one of us has to make today.

Sales Friends, as I said at the top of this message, you made it through 2020. That itself is a victory worth celebrating. Even if you didn’t have the type of successes reported above, for many, surviving was a major accomplishment! And as promised in my latest podcast episode, there are better days ahead. We made it this far, and we are going to make through the vaccine rollout. Be encouraged.

Who’s with me? I’m choosing to attack this new year with everything I’ve got.  Join me on the journey.

Here’s to finishing up this pandemic season strong and to experiencing breakout success in 2021!

Mike

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