This is an exciting time of the year. Everyone is focused on the New Year. People resolve to lose weight, get fit, save money, spend more time with their families, spend more time focused on their careers, attend church regularly, read more, watch less television, donate more money to charity, make

more cold calls, and the list goes on. Whew!

This is the time of the year for starting over — new beginnings. 2004 is over. And that’s a good lesson for salespeople. 2004 is history. Better yet, it’s a history lesson. What did you learn from last year that will help you this year?

Let me offer a thought: Your past is not your potential.

This means that your past accomplishments are not your upper limit. It’s reinforcing to look back at your accomplishments and feel pride. But past accomplishments are not your potential; that is in front of you.

It also means that past failures are not your potential. Just because you fell short of a goal in the past does not mean that you are doomed to fail again in the future. It only means that you did not accomplish your goal last year. Failure, treated as feedback, is never permanent.

People that lock in on the past deprive themselves of the joy of today and the hope of tomorrow. Use your past —successes and failures — as information that will help you stretch beyond where you are at this point in your career.

Wishing you a successful and prosperous and healthy new year.

Here is some more from Tom Reilly

Are you an order taker or an order maker? It depends on whether you are more reactive or proactive in your sales approach.

Proactive salespeople create opportunities; reactive salespeople wait for customers to offer opportunities.

Proactive salespeople anticipate and act in advance; reactive salespeople wait and see.

Proactive salespeople are selective in the business they pursue; reactive salespeople must take whatever comes their way.

Proactive salespeople run their territories; reactive salespeople let their territories run them.

Proactive salespeople take new ideas to customers; reactive salespeople wait for customers to ask for new ideas.

Proactive salespeople preempt price objections with value added; reactive salespeople wait for price to become an issue.

Proactive salespeople study on their own; reactive salespeople wait for their companies to sign them up for training.

Proactive salespeople invest in the tools of their trade that will help them succeed; reactive salespeople wait for their companies to supply these tools for them.

If you want to become an order maker, you must become more proactive in your sales approach. Being proactive means doing all those things that will make you successful without your boss telling you to do them. Value Added salespeople make it a habit to do those things others consider to

Tom Reilly is a professional speaker and author. You may reach Tom through his Web site: Or visit him at his next Value Added Selling public seminar on February 21-22 at his training centre in Chesterfield, MO.

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