"Plans get you into things but you've got to work your way out." – Will Rogers
Here are a few simple instructions for a quick exercise all professional salespeople should do at the end of the first quarter of their sales year:
-Turn slowly toward your bookshelf in your work area.
-Look for the binder labeled "2009 Sales Plan" (you remember, it's the one you put there last December)
-Grab the binder, put it on your desk and review it.
Now ask yourself this question: "Am I doing what I said I would do in this sales plan?"
There are three answers to this question: "Yes, No and Kind of"
If you answered "Yes", good for you. Your follow up question then is, "Are my business development efforts getting me closer to my goals?" to make sure you are getting the results you want.
If you answered "No", your follow up question is: "Assuming my goals are still the ones I want and my action steps are still effective means to reaching those goals, what's holding me back?" Then comes the really hard question: "Are these valid reasons or am I making excuses for not doing the behavior?"
If you answered "Kind of", your follow up question is: "Am I giving the right amount of effort or do I have to press the 'gas pedal' harder?"
I know there are no simplistic answers. However you answered the first question, the point is to take the time to sit down and review how you are doing in comparison to what you planned to do in your sales plan. You may need to fine tune it a bit because of changes in market conditions, your customer accounts or in your own business .
Once you complete this review (and changes if needed), you can be confident that your business development efforts are in complete 'sync' with current business conditions and more importantly, that you are showing high integrity to yourself and to your sales plan by 'doing what you say you will do'.