Today, as I write this, it is January 5, 2015. The first Monday of the New Year and a clean slate! This is the year we’re going to make a difference, this is the year we’re going to figure things out and get the results we want! We are filled with renewed passion and energy.

This is the year we’re going to get it right! Right?

But isn’t that what we said to ourselves last year, and the year before and most of the last decade?

If our approach to selling doesn’t change the result won’t change! Selling at the top of our game means taking a different approach than we have taken in the past and most certainly doing things differently from the rest of the crowd.

Here are my top five strategies to make this year different!

Forget the past! Incremental changes will, at best, deliver incremental improvements. Imagine you have never worked in this business before. With a fresh set of eyes what would you keep and what would you throw away? What sales activities really don’t deliver? Redesign your sales approach keeping only the parts that deliver the best results.

Find the passion! Selling skills and a quality sales process is essential but nothing – absolutely nothing – beats passion. It has been said that successful selling is a transfer of enthusiasm. Ever listen to those late night infomercials on television? Do you ever wonder why the presenters are so charged up and excited about what they are pitching? It is because they know passion sells! Get passionate about your business and communicate that passion with every client touch-point. Hire enthusiastic people, write enthusiastic copy for your marketing and answer the phone with enthusiasm and power in your voice. If you’re not excited by your product or service how can you ever expect you customer to get excited enough to choose you instead of the competition?

Hire quality people! The reality is the most salespeople shouldn’t be selling. I estimate that 60% of salespeople are simply keeping the chair warm, 20% of salespeople are competent enough to keep their jobs and only the top 20% are making any kind of real difference to the companies where they work. It is estimated that the top 1% of salespeople, in any industry, generate 50 times the revenue of average performers. Your money and effort is better spent having a sales team of 5 top performers than 50 mediocre salespeople. Do everything possible to find, hire and keep these top performers.

Figure out your sales process. In every industry there is an approach to selling that works. This is the approach that the top performers use every day. Stop at nothing to figure out what works and teach it to you everyone in your business. Do you have one sales star on your team? Watch them, analyze their performance and teach what they do to everyone on your team. I am constantly shocked to see companies that let salespeople fail when someone in their company has found success. Selling is a science – do the same thing as the top people and you will get the same results!

Support your team! Every week I see sales managers who do absolutely nothing to support the success of their salespeople. They spend all of their time looking for faults and using negative reinforcement in a desperate attempt to motivate their sales team. A sales manager is first and foremost a coach. Help your sales people to first become competent and then become stars! That is your job!
Pick an audacious goal for 2015 and then put the energy, enthusiasm and sweat into making your business a success.