As we begin 2017 it is natural for sales people and their management teams to turn their attention to establishing new annual sales goals and building focused sales plans to reach those sales goals.


When the annual sales goal is higher than the previous years sale goal, sales teams face a common challenging question.  They intellectually know that if they do the same things this year as they did last year, chances are good they will get the same results.  The common question to ask is “What can I change or do differently this year to hit my new sales goal?”


Help Is Here!Help is here

To help you identify the areas that need to be changed or modified in order to achieve your new annual sales quota, I have put together 102 questions within 12 categories.  These questions will help you identify areas that may be negatively impacting your sales.  These questions will enable you to uncover elements to improve so you can reach your new sales goals for the year.  This is NOT a comprehensive list and other topics or areas may come to your mind as you read through these.


Homework Assignment

  1. To start with, just pick one or two sections of this list that catch your attention.
  2. Read through the list of questions in that section and do some soul searching.
  3. Brainstorm and identify a total of 3-5 things you want to focus on changing or improving. Do not pick too many things to work on.  Focusing on too many things is having no focus at all.
  4. Include these 3-5 things in your annual sales plan.
  5. Provide a copy of your annual sales plan to your manager and have them check in with you on a weekly basis to see how progress is coming on the changes you are working to make.
  6. Be patient with yourself and let the process work its magic.



Sales Time ManagementTime Management

  • Can I arrive earlier to work each day to get a jump on things?
  • Can I use my early morning hours more effectively?
  • What electronic tools can I use to stay better organized?
  • What software tools can I use better schedule my day?
  • Can I be more proactive at planning and scheduling my week?
  • Can I delegate more “administrative” tasks to others on my team?
  • Are there company meetings I can politely “opt out of” so I continue my work?
  • Can I do better at prioritizing my daily tasks each day?
  • Can I complete administrative or “non-revenue producing” tasks at the end of my day?
  • Can I use the last fifteen minutes of each in planning the next day?
  • Can I stay a later at the end of the day?


Sales Activity Level

  • Can I spend less time “getting ready” or “getting organized” and more time actually doing the work?
  • Can I be more proactive and less random about finding new sales leads?
  • Can I spend less time “researching” opportunities and more time in sales conversations?
  • Can I make more calls and schedule more sales appointments each day?
  • Can I be more consistent in scheduling additional follow up sales conversations?
  • Can I send fewer “shot gun” or “boiler plate” proposals to unqualified prospects?
  • Can I respond to fewer RFPs from companies whom I cannot get access to their decision makers?
  • Can I review more proposals with prospects face-to-face?
  • Can I be better prepared to close each sale?
  • Can I schedule more “Account Reviews” with existing clients?
  • Can I be more proactive in introducing existing clients to additional product lines?
  • Can I teach more of my clients unique insights to help them growth their businesses?
  • Can I ask my clients and prospects for more referrals?


Selling Mindset & FearsMindset

  • Can I avoid pushing off or procrastinating on task I don’t enjoy?
  • Can I schedule the hard, boring or scary tasks at the beginning of my day?
  • Can I do better at questioning the “stories” I tell myself about me, my company or my clients?
  • Can I review my weekly and monthly goals more frequently?
  • Can I get help from my manager or others on the things I struggle with?
  • Can I keep a journal to document what is working and not working for me?


Physical Energy

  • Can I exercise more frequently to have better endurance?
  • Can I eat better and more consistently to have more energy?
  • Can I get to bed earlier so I can feel more rested and less drained each day?
  • Can I reduce my need for energy drinks and caffeine to keep my energy high?
  • Can I take short breaks during the day so I can regroup and feel less stressed?


Sales Skill DevelopmentSkill development

  • Am I aware of which selling skills are my strongest and weakest?
  • Can I take a selling skills assessment to determine what needs improvement?
  • Can I practice my cold calling, needs analysis, presentation or closing skills more?
  • Can I spend more time role playing with others?
  • Can I spend more time reading sales materials and applying what I am learning?
  • Can I have my manager shadow me and give me feedback on my selling skills?
  • Can I get some additional sales trainings and coaching from an expert?
  • Can I keep a sales journal to record my successes and failures as they relate to practicing my selling skills?
  • Can I focus on developing the vital selling skills in my industry?


Personal Sales Motivation

  • Can I revisit my personal values, standards and larger purposes for my life?
  • Can I attach these larger purposes to the vital selling activities I must do each day?
  • Can I mentally treat my sales job as a personal quest and mission to fulfill my larger vision of myself?
  • Can I get even clearer on my personal income goals for this year?
  • Can I develop a financial plan for myself that supports my life goals?
  • Do I know what scares me and how to overcome my fears?
  • Can I turn my work into a game and keep score with others?
  • Can I interview other successful sales people and watch them in action?
  • Can I use my manager or others on my teams as an accountability partner to help me stay consistent on the things I need to?


Sales Team FactorsTeam

  • Can I be clearer in my communication with others to avoid misunderstandings?
  • Can I delegate more administrative (non revenue producing) tasks to others on my team?
  • Can I look for and remove any bottlenecks I am causing for others on my team?
  • Can I do better at follow through on my weekly commitments?
  • Can I ask others to give me feedback on ways I can reach my goals?
  • Can I slow down and pay more attention to details?


Selling Environmental

  • Can I suggest changes or adjustments to my sales compensation plan that rewards the vital selling behaviors needed to succeed?
  • Can I remove anything that unintentionally rewards me for NOT doing the vital selling behaviors?
  • Can I celebrate my small victories and the progress I am making along the way?
  • Can I put up signs and visual reminders to help me do what I know I need to do?
  • Can I do a better job at tracking and measuring what I am doing and how I am doing it?
  • Can I do better at reviewing my sales activity numbers each week?
  • What can I change in my office that would make it easier for me to set more appointments and close more sales?
  • Can I change the steps I follow when I sell to see better results?
  • Can I use a “sales intake form” to help me follow the process when I am selling?
  • Can I create and use scripts or other tools to help me sell more effectively?
  • Can I change the location of my desk/office to improve communication & collaboration with others on my team?


Sales DistractionsStarve distractions

  • What distractions can I remove to help me stay more focused?
  • Can I take fewer “social water cooler” breaks during the day?
  • Can reduce the number of non-revenue producing tasks I do during business hours?
  • Can spend less time using social media for personal purposes?
  • Are there company meetings I can politely “opt out of” so I continue my work?
  • Can I spend less time gossiping, criticizing, blaming and pointing fingers?
  • Can I spend more time on things I can control vs. things I cannot?
  • Can I hang a “do not disturb” sign on my door during certain hours of the day?
  • Can I reduce the number of family “emergencies” that keep me from providing a living for them in the first place?


Sales Tools, Technology and Resources

  • Can the forms and documents I use be updated to better help me follow processes and procedures?
  • Do I know what tools, technology and resources the top sales people in my company are using?
  • Can I adopt and start using those same tools to improve my results?
  • Are there reports, functions and tools in my CRM that I could be using more effectively?
  • Are there reports, functions and tools within my email I could be using to improve my sales efforts?
  • Are there reports, functions and tools within social media I could be using to improve my sales efforts?
  • Can my sales conversations via phone be recorded so I can review them later?
  • Are there apps, software or other tools I can use on my smart phone to help me improve my sales efforts?


Sales Education and Trainingterry-l-hansen-picture

  • Can I be more “up-to-date” with changes in my industry and their impact on my customers?
  • Can I be more “up-to-date” with the latest changes in my products or services?
  • Do I know my company’s real competitive advantage and am I regularly using it in my sales conversations?
  • Can I take a DISC assessment to better understand how I better improve my interactions with others?
  • Can I informally survey my clients to gain deeper insights into the real problems and issues they are trying to solve in their business?
  • Can I commit to reading one new sales book each quarter this year?
  • Can I update my selling skills by getting more sales training?
  • Can I update my selling process by working with a sales coach?
  • Can I adopt a more consultative, rather than a transactional, selling approach?


Sales Prospects and Clients

  • Can I schedule more sales appointments with past or inactive clients?
  • Can I schedule more sales appointments with existing clients for cross selling and up-selling purposes?
  • Can I be more aggressive at targeting larger businesses in my sales prospecting?
  • Can I spend more time developing leads in a new or different industry than I am used to?
  • Can I work more aggressively at strengthening trust, loyalty and credibility with existing clients to prevent them from leaving?
  • Can I increase the frequency of communication with existing clients to better understand their changing and evolving needs?



Complementary 2017 Sales Planning Workshop

Each year many of my clients and partner companies ask me to help them with their annual sales planning and goal setting process.  To help them I developed a 60 minute sales planning workshop that helps sales people, business owners and managers accomplish the following:

  1. Identify their monthly and yearly sales revenue goals.
  2. Identify their monthly and yearly personal income goals.
  3. Discover their sales conversion percentages and other critical sales metrics.
  4. Understand their daily and weekly sales activity numbers (such as the number of appointments, proposals and sales they need to reach their goal).
  5. Discover what they need to change and do differently in order to achieve their daily and weekly activity numbers.
  6. Develop an action plan for developing new business and sales.
  7. Create an accountability structure that motivates and enables them to follow their plan and achieve their goals.
  8. Get motivated, excited and energized to reach their sales goals


If you would like to participate in this complementary sales planning workshop there are two options available for you:


Option One:  Public Workshop2017

On January 18th at 1pm MDT I will be hosting a live online sales planning workshop for all who wish to participate.  You can reserve your complementary tickets for the event by clicking this link:  Space is limited to the first 200 people, so be sure to act quickly.


Option Two:  Private Workshop

If you have a team with more than 5 individuals and would like to schedule a private sales planning workshop for your group, contact me directly and we can arrange a time to do this. or 208-522-1032.


I hope these 102 questions will help you identify what areas of your business need to be changed and modified in order to enable you to reach your 2017 sales revenue goals.  I wish you all the success during the next 12 months as you work to take your business to the next level.  If I can be of any help to you or your team, feel free to reach out.  Good luck!


Terry L. Hansen is a popular speaker, consultant, trainer, and author on helping sales and marketing teams improve their ability to create value for their prospects and clients. He is regularly asked to train organizations on strategies to find more prospects, close more sales, and increase customer loyalty. You can follow or connect with Terry on Twitter (@TerryLHansen) or on LinkedIn ( To contact Terry please email or call at or 844-205-5054.