It’s not too late to get yourself on track for your best year of sales ever. Make some time for each of these best practices and you’ll find that every repetition is another step on the road to success.

“Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.” – Zig Ziglar

1. Fill the top of your funnel first.

Dedicate a number of hours a week to finding and creating new opportunities. While they aren’t short-term wins, start conversations now that have the potential for future conversion. Allocate more time to this at the start of your quarter (or other reporting period) when you are under less pressure and stress to close deals before the deadline.

2. Call your closed sales.

They will give you feedback on where you can improve and a positive confirmation on where your strengths are. Calling them when everything is going well and “there’s no reason to call” will be more productive than waiting until they raise an issue with you. It will also help you with habit #1, above.

3. Be Methodical.

Too often salespeople jump from one deal to the next and put out fires with existing customers in between. Just a couple minutes using your CRM should be enough to enter new information and know who to call if you have a spare moment. If the input and output process of your tool takes longer than this, then it’s too long and you should change your CRM system. If your company can’t or won’t, then change your company, otherwise you’ll be paying for the privilege via lost commissions.

4. Structure your sales calls for buoyancy:

before, during and after.

Take a page from Dan Pink’s book To Sell is Human, and use the following mindsets;

Before: Practice Interrogative Self-talk to ensure you’re fully prepared

During: Be positive – selling is a transfer of emotion.

After: Embrace an explanatory style for negative events that have occurred. Especially consider this when objection handling.

5. Ask more questions.

If you’re not coming out of every one of your sales meetings having learned something new, then you’re not asking enough of the right questions. Questions show you what is important to your customers, and show your customers you care what is important to them. More questions leads to a deeper understanding on how to serve your customers, and solve their problems in creative ways which are more likely to be win-win. Again, treat objections as positives (link to blog).

Do you have a new sales habit you’ve decided to stick to? Please share it as a comment below.

Photo Credit: Kunsthofpassage Funnel Wall by Serge Bystro / Flickr