I’ve been with Compass Group for more than 22 years. Today, as Senior VP of Sales, I lead a sales team of more than 160 people across the U.S. and Canada. We have lofty goals and are driven to get big results, but I’ve found that the top performers aren’t just focusing on what they want to achieve—they’re looking at the habits that need to be in place in order to get there. Here are the top five habits that I believe ultimately lead to success.
The best performers do things like get up at the same time, work out at the same time, and get to work at the same time. They create a routine that allows them to think less about smaller choices and spend that energy on the bigger decisions. The trick to this is planning. Before you leave work, have 80 percent of the following day already planned, but leave 20 percent for the unplanned things that inevitably pop up. This kind of planning lets you hit the ground running and ensures you’ve set aside time for everything that needs to be completed.
Once you’ve set a goal, don’t make excuses to not meet it. If your plan was to make 20 calls, don’t spend your time doing throwaway tasks like cleaning out your inbox. Keep a short to-do list to help you with this. On a long list, the important items tend to get buried—or, even worse, it feels so overwhelming that you do nothing. With a short one, you’ll stay focused on your top priorities. Tip: Consider the time of day when you work best and do the hard stuff during those hours.
Be committed to meeting your goals. If you say you’re going to get five new appointments a week, but you’re not doing that, that means your actions have to change. Doing the same thing will never get you different results. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you should be working harder—just smarter. The best way to do this is to track how your work is converting to results. This will show you both your strengths and where you can improve your performance.
Everyone has the occasional off day. But the best performers work hard to always put their best selves forward. As sales team members, we spend a lot of time and effort to get in front of a potential client. Then, when that moment arrives, we often phone it in—even though that’s the moment that really counts. To be the best, you have to be prepared to impress every single time.
One of the most important qualities of a top performer is knowing when to say no and walk away. Your time is the most valuable piece of inventory you have. Spend it like it’s gold. Don’t waste your time with someone or something that doesn’t get you closer to your goal. In sales, this means that you must have the self-confidence to move on from a client who you sense will never actually commit. The best performers have the courage to be honest—both with others and themselves.