December 10, 2015

Adapt For Sales Success In 2016

Adaptation is what allows species to survive, and also what allows sales professionals to do the same. A recent Ted Radio Hour podcast featured a blind man from six months old who learned to navigate by clicking his tongue as a dolphin or bat would. With 2016 just around the corner, what are the most important adaptations you can make for successful selling in the coming year? Here are some effective strategies for sales pros to implement:

Time Management

If there is one word to describe what most people go through in a day, it is this: distractions. Day in day out, hour in hour out, we are bombarded by email, surfing the Web, trading war stories with other sales reps or chitchatting with office personnel, watching YouTube videos, working on our Fantasy Football picks, running errands, etc., etc., etc. To overcome distractions, here is a two-step process:

  • Review where your time went in 2015, coldheartedly. Don’t leave anything out!
  • Then, identify the time sucks and come up with a plan to eliminate them in 2016. More time devoted to sales equals more sales.

Emotional Intelligence

Yes, selling is all about communication — and it is an art. Though behind the art is science. Understanding your personality strengths and weaknesses helps you communicate more effectively and enjoyably with prospects, customers, co-workers and network partners. A great way to get insight: take this free personality test, based on the widely used Myers Briggs test. It will help you nurture strengths and strengthen your weaknesses, making you more effective every step of the way when going about your business.

You Are Who You Are With

In 2015, did you hang with turkeys or soar with eagles? To a very, very great extent, we are a product of our company. If we surround ourselves with people who are positive, energetic, focused and successful, we are more likely to become positive, energetic, focused and successful. Plan for 2016:

  • How can I improve my networking/professional circle? Who should I spend more time with?
  • Should I consider working with a sales recruiting firm to find top-notch sales professionals?
  • What new professional groups can I join or become more active in — groups that will lift me up?
  • What groups can I create to expand my horizons and nurture my growth? Perhaps it’s a book club, or a wine tasting group, or a breakfast networking group … 2016 is an opportunity to be creative with the company you share.

Start, Stop, Continue

This is something that has worked for me for many years: “Start, stop, continue” gets at the habits you need to stop and the ones you need to start. First, make a list of all the activities that worked for you in 2015. Then, make a list of all of the time-wasting activities from 2015 you need to stop doing (or delegate). Finally, make a list of all the new things you can do to increase your sales in 2016. I do this by making a numbered list of 1-20. I keep at it until I fill the list with new ideas or as many as I can. As a thought-starter, I’m planning to dedicate time to looking at new sales technology like Salesloft.


Get those plans and dreams out of your head. Jack Nicklaus won 18 Majors. He says one thing that helped him succeed for decades was visualizing every shot before hitting it. When you see what you want to do, you become more capable of doing it.

Make a vision board! Put your biggest dreams and goals in pictures, and look at them every day. There are very cool online vision tools like Vizbe that make creating your board almost as much fun as turning your dreams into reality — and I sincerely hope you do. Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2016!

Over to You

What adaptation techniques have worked for you? What changes are you planning for 2016 to become more successful? If you’re a sales professional in the Chicago area interested in working with outstanding Chicago sales recruiters to enhance your success for 2016, contact Sales Empowerment Group today.

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