Want More Sales Success? Get Accountable!
By Jerry Pujals
want to be a top producing salesperson, you must be accountable and
have an accountability process in place. While many other factors,
mindsets, and habits play into your success level, your level of
accountability is the hinge-pin that makes everything else possible.
exactly does accountability mean? The dictionary defines it as the
quality or state of being accountable, liable, or responsible. In
simpler terms, it means having a system that ensures you do what you
said you would do, even when you don’t feel like doing it.
yourself, “Who holds you responsible for completing daily tasks that
will generate more sales? To whom are you liable if you don’t do
what you need to do?” For most salespeople, the answer is “no
is that most salespeople are not accountable. Why? Because they’re
typically compensated via straight commission, and this gives them an
independent contractor mentality. They can earn as little or as much
as they want based on their efforts. They create their own sales
systems and have no obligation to use sales techniques that don’t
work for their unique style.
flexibility and earning potential attracts thousands of people to the
sales profession every year. The irony is that this very flexibility
and earning potential is what kills so many careers. Those in the top
3% know how to manage all the freedom; those in the 97% do not.
about it…as a salesperson, you’re not tied to a desk. You can take
prospects out to lunch or on golf outings. You can have lots of
“fun” in the pre-sales work. But when you let one thing slide for
too long, such as not prospecting enough or not presenting enough
proposals, a domino effect starts to occur. When one aspect of your
career goes downhill, others quickly follow suit.
challenge is getting salespeople back on task to where they create a
schedule, respect it, and work only 40 hours per week. If you ask most
salespeople how much they work, they’ll tell you they put in 60 or
more hours per week. But if you analyze their schedule and look at
their income producing
activities, you’ll quickly see that these same people actually
work less then 20 hours per week. The rest of the time they’re
engaging in non-income producing activities—the “busy-ness” of
sales—rather than the real business of sales. And that’s a recipe
So how do
you gain accountability? Consider the following:
an Accountability Partner:
step to accountability is to have an accountability partner. This
person holds you to your word. If you say you’re going to prospect
for four hours each day, your accountability partner ensures you do
precisely that…no excuses. If you don’t do what you said you would
do, or if you deviate from your plan in any way, this person “calls
you on the carpet” and makes sure you get back on track. In general,
having an accountability partner is the best way to take your
well-laid plans and convert them into action.
instinctively know who can hold us accountable. Some people in our
life agree with everything we say, pat us on the back, and act as our
cheerleaders, while others aren’t afraid to confront us on important
issues. When it comes to an accountability partner, you want someone
who is more like the latter. Realize that your cheerleader and
accountability partner likely love you the same amount, so this
isn’t an issue of who loves you more. This is an issue of who will
hold your feet to the fire. When it comes to an accountability
partner, don’t choose the path of least resistance. Choose someone
who will confront you when needed—someone who will push you to be
the people in your life. Who are the people who can get “tough”
with you? It may be your spouse, your sibling, your sales manager,
your co-worker, your brother-in-law, etc. It may even be someone you
don’t know that well, such as the guy who works in the office down
the hall, a personal trainer you just met, or even a business coach.
The key question to ask is: “Will this person push me to be my best,
even when it hurts?” If your answer is anything other than a
resounding “yes,” then keep looking. The last thing you want is an
accountability partner who will let you slide.
an Accountability Group:
people prefer to start with an accountability group rather than an
accountability partner. Most salespeople work in an office with
several other salespeople. When you have an accountability group, you
develop an alliance within your office, where all the salespeople help
each other as a whole, rather than individually. Most companies are
going to be excited about this group forming.
group, you get together to share ideas, discuss goals, exchange
feedback, give each other motivation, and challenge each other to
produce more. For example, as a group, you may decide that every day
you are going to show up by 10:00 a.m.
and prospect. If someone doesn’t show up, the group tries to find
out why that person didn’t show up and what everyone can do to help
him or her show up the next day. Obviously, this one person may simply
not want to participate in the group. If so, that’s okay. You
can’t force someone to be accountable. He or she must want to do it.
being in the group for a while, certain people will naturally
gravitate towards each other as accountability partners for more
specific items. That’s completely normal and part of the process.
This does not mean those individuals will leave the group; it simply
means they are looking for some more specific accountability items.
The purpose of the group is to get the entire office focused on goals
and on helping each other, and to introduce the accountability process
introduce the idea of an accountability group to your office, get the
salespeople together in a meeting. Start the conversation by telling
the group some of your challenges—maybe you need help prospecting or
role playing. And then find out what challenges other people have. You
may find that most people struggle with the same two or three things.
example, you may say, “You know, I think I could be a lot more
efficient if I did more prospecting and role playing, but I sometimes
have trouble doing these things. I’d like to find out what things
other people here would like to do more often but for some reason
don’t do them. (Let the group talk.) Great. Now that we each know
what would help this office produce more as a group, as well as what
would help us all individually, why don’t we help each other by
creating an accountability group. We will each know what the group
needs to do as a whole, and we will work together to make sure we do
these things and hold each other accountable for our tasks.”
keep the meeting positive and focused on the benefit—the fact that
the office and each individual will produce more—then most groups
are easy to form. Getting your sales manager involved is a good idea
too, as managers often love the idea of an accountability group. Most
managers certainly want their salespeople to be more productive.
accountable you are to your daily tasks and long-term goals, the
higher your chances for accomplishing everything you desire. Remember,
when it comes to accountability, the path of least resistance is not
the ideal road to take. Get in a group setting where you have support
from multiple people, or choose an accountability partner who will be
tough on you. Yes, accountability hurts sometimes. But as the old
saying goes, “No pain, no gain.”
even better is that as your accountability grows and you do the things
you must do on a regular basis, you form a good habit. Your day then
doesn’t feel complete unless you do the things you want to be
accountable for. When that happens, you’ve pushed through the pain
and can enjoy the fruits of your labor without the negative feelings.
You’ll no longer look at things like prospecting, role playing, or
getting into the office on time as chores. They’ll be natural parts
of your day that you enjoy. When those feelings surface, you can be
sure you’re on your way to becoming a top producing salesperson.
Read other articles and learn more
about Jerry Pujals.
[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis.
Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and