Start Your New Year Looking Backwards

Dec 13, 2021

During this time of the year, successful salespeople have already created a business plan that includes a series of pillars that will generate revenue sources for them.  Successful salespeople will have also established an ultimate financial goal for the year. And lastly, successful salespeople will have asked the questions, “What worked last year?” and “What didn’t work that I need to change?”

The successful individuals will have established new pillars of revenue, based on what has worked in the past and will find a new tactic to create new business opportunities.

One of the biggest lesson most salespeople forget is how important it is to look backwards– not just the previous year, but all previous years.

As salespeople, we evolve.  When we do this, we often times phase out practices that were actually working for us, yet for different reasons we decide to stop implementing these practices.  For example, cold calling for new business.  As newer salespeople, you have no choice but to start knocking on doors, which today is picking up the phone, and seeing if you can develop new business. Over time, cold calling has been replaced with text messages and email.  But sometimes, cold calling is the tried and true way to generate leads.

Going back and revisiting old pillars to determine whether they can be applied to your business today can open up new revenue streams. This is why it’s so important to keep all of your business plans over the years. It’s a pool of old ideas and tactics that worked that you simply phased out over time, or perhaps didn’t work in the past– but today you are in a better place to rekindle and see if it can work now.

One example is direct mail or social media buys. Both of these pillars require a consistent approach that will cost you money and require a long-term investment view.  However, in your earlier career as a salesperson, you may have found few results initially in these efforts and decided that you no longer wanted to spend the money.  But today, you may be in a much better financial position for a long-term approach and therefore can achieve greater success this time around.

Another example is hiring a coach or finding a mentor. In your earlier years, you may have wanted to hire a coach but felt it was far too expensive to do so.  Or, you did invest in a coach or training classes but felt again that you were not in the financial position to continue long term. Yet a coach or a mentor can prove invaluable in building your overall business more effectively.

Lastly, it’s not only important to look back at past pillars, but also past clients who were once served but ultimately lost. Get back in touch.  It can be very fruitful to revisit past clients and deals. There may be an opportunity to begin again with an old client, and sometimes ends up being the best avenue for new business.  If a client chooses to go in a different direction, you can always follow back up and reintroduce yourself a few months down the line. There is always a chance their alternate choice doesn’t work out, and you could get another chance to serve.

We always think that we need to find answers by looking into the future. But looking at our own individual history and question what has happened (both positively and negatively) can lead us to a path of more solid ground to jump start your new year.

Written by: Hans Hansson

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Hans Hansson is President of Starboard Commercial Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 35 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email [email protected] or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,