>I love accountability! I think it is one of the most important terms in the sales process. In addition, I think it is one of those words that has gotten a bad wrap over the years. I would like to be among the first to say, if you want to turn your prospects into customers then you need to learn to love accountability.

For most sales people, the very term accountability brings up painful images. The stern sales manager who hounds you day-in and day-out. Asking you consistently, how many sales calls you made and how many products you sold. The ole tick mark management system. What did you close, who are you calling on, and how much money did you make? No wonder people hate the word.

The term accountability is really about practice, consistency and learning. If you want to be good at anything you have to practice it, commit to consistently do it, and learn from both your accomplishments and your mistakes. You can only do that if you set up a method of accountability. Accountability is the story of “you.”

If you want to turn your prospects into customers than you must track your behaviors, measure your progress, and learn from your results. There is true gold in that information. Process and consistency are critical to great sales results, but if you do not take the time to review the information and learn from what you are doing then how can you ever hope to improve.

One of my favorite stories about accountability actually comes from a friend of mine, Myra Holbert. She is a conference sales manager in Texas. She has a staff of about 25 sales people working directly for her. A few years ago she shared this story with me. She had her newest sales members calling existing clients trying to drum up new business. Being a great sales manager, she had each of them track their calls and their results. Each Friday, they had a quick sales meeting just to review calls made and services sold. At this time, she noticed her newest sales member was enthusiastically making plenty of calls but seeing very little in the way of results.

Myra asked to speak with her after the sales meeting. She brought her into the office, and asked her to talk about her sales experience. First, she made sure to compliment her on the level of sales calling she was doing, and then asked her what challenges she was facing around closing deals. After a little prodding, the new sales person revealed she was so frustrated and tired. She called and called and while customers were nice, they showed very little interest in doing any additional business. The sales person found sales depressing. Myra smiled, and told her not to worry. As a sales person she was doing the hardest part and that was making the calls. Myra guessed there was just a sentence or two that needed to be changed in her approach and the results would be different. Myra offered to make calls with her that afternoon, and give her the opportunity to listen to Myra talk with customers. To make a long story short, Myra and this new sales person spent the afternoon working together, adjusting her delivery and improving her sales style. The result, a significant increase in the number of closed leads and a highly motivated new sales person.

None of that could have happened if Myra did not hold her team accountable. I love accountability because it is how we learn. If you track what you are doing and you are not getting the desired result then it may not be from a lack of effort. It may be from your technique, your skill or perhaps choosing the wrong prospects. When you hold yourself accountable, schedule time to review your progress, you can learn what you do well, work to improve what you don’t and move far more prospects into customers!