Dec 26, 2022 • Podcast

What’s the first thing I should do next year?

Paul helps you plan just how to kick off 2023 without feeling overwhelmed.

Show Notes

Planning is the key to starting the new year right. Be intentional.

Pick three high-value targets (your dream customers) and build an account plan for each.*

What small wins will lead to your success?

If you want to be a top achiever in 2023, you have to do what top achievers do.

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*Tough Times Target Account Planner

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What’s the first thing I should do next year?

(Transcribed from podcast)

Well, we are basically in 2023 as you listen to this episode of The Q and A Sales Podcast. It is right around Christmas time, so Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate Christmas and have a happy New Year as well. Hanukkah is also going on right around this time, so happy Hanukkah to all of you who celebrate as well. Happy Holidays.

So right now, at this time of year, we may start to get overwhelmed, right? We have a brand new year starting. We have brand new quotas that we need to hit. We have new targets. Oh boy, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and you feel like you’ve got to do everything in that first week of the new year.

So here’s one tip. When we get overwhelmed, sometimes we end up doing nothing because we’re not sure what to do, right? So, do one. You may be wondering, “Okay, what’s the first thing I should do this year?” That’s what we’re going to focus on in this episode of The Q and A Sales Podcast.

Now, just a reminder, there’s a lot of articles. I just read one the other day on LinkedIn that showed like 80 something percent of CEOs believe that we’re heading into a recession next year. Alright, let’s say we do. It’s not the end of the world, first of all. If you’ve listened to other episodes, you know that I’ve said tough times are good. Tough times are good because of the pain that we experience in tough times will catalyze that positive change. So, tough times are good, but now is the time to prepare.

Spend a week or two reading Selling Through Tough Times. This is your go-to guide for building mental resilience. This book was written for the time that we’re in right now. You will learn how to sell more effectively in any downturn. I know many of my listeners are tied to the housing industry which is facing a lot of pressure right now. I get it. Pick up a copy of the book. I know many of my clients are concerned about a recession next year. Okay, don’t be concerned about it. Prepare or it. Pick up your copy of Selling Through Tough Times. It’s available wherever you get your books. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Porchlight. You name it. You can find the book anywhere. Download it, listen to it, read it. Whatever you’ve got to do, just get prepared.

So, what’s the first thing I should do this year? The key is to plan. Planning is going to be your key to starting this year off right. Planning—here’s what happens. When a new year hits, we get so excited. We’re ready to go. Man, we are so hell-bent on taking action that we forget that we need to be intentional with our action. We need to take a few minutes to plan and prepare. We need to pause for just a moment and make sure that we’re moving on the right track. So, here’s what I’m going to suggest. In addition to your daily activities and the things that you normally do, I want you to pick three high-value targets.

A high-value target, the way we define it, is either a new prospect or an existing customer where there’s a lot of growth potential. These are like your three dream customers or dream clients. I want you to pick three of them and build an account plan using our methodology. Now I have a complimentary resource available for you, and that is our Tough Times Target Account Planner. This is available for download on the Tough Timer website. Again, go to, and right on the top of the webpage you can see a section, it says Downloads. Once you put in your name and your email address, you then have access to all of our downloads. And the second or third one down is called the Tough Times Target Account Planner. We’re going to have a link to that on the episode show notes, so check it out.

Now, this target account planner is going to help you get on the right foot. And actually, to help you fill out this Tough Time Target Account Planner, we have different sections. We actually reference the pages of the book. So if you already have your copy of Selling Through Tough Times, you can find all this information on page 106 through 109 in your book.

So the key here, when you’re developing this target account plan, number one, you’ve got to create a summary of the opportunity. It’s going to help you get some basic background information, and since we know you’re a tough timer, you’re going to view all of that information through an opportunistic lens, and that’s going to help give you some ideas on how you should pursue this opportunity. So the first part of the plan is the target account summary.

The next thing you’re going to do is highlight the small wins that will lead to your success. When you’re going after a high-value target, when you’re going after one of your dream customers, it may take a little while. It may be frustrating. The best way to keep you focused, motivated, and engaged is to identify those small wins that will eventually lead to the big win.

Now, with a small win, all we’re doing is focus in on achieving the next best step, the next best outcome. And by doing that, we’re going to generate some momentum. We’re going to keep focused, we’re going to have a game plan. You know, you think about it. I remember when I had Carter Alexandra on the podcast. He sells private jets. He talked about having the list of things you need to accomplish on a deal. And by writing them out and achieving them, you know you’re getting that much closer. So we’re doing the same thing here with small wins. So check that out.

Now, the next part of the target account planner is to identify the Decision-Maker Profile. You’ve got to understand how power is distributed within the organization, how the decision is going to be made. Fill out that information. Figure out who all the key players are. Then you need to conduct a Competitive Analysis. You need to figure out how you stack up against the other alternatives. What I would encourage you to do is create a competitive scorecard. Create a list of your value-added extras or features/benefits, whatever, that create distance between you and all the other alternatives. By creating this list, you can positively focus the buyer’s attention on your strengths. That’s going to put you in a much better position.

Now, the next segment is about discovery. In Selling Through Tough Times, we talk about discovery and what that looks like and how important it is. It’s not only about you discovering the buyer’s needs, wants and concerns, it’s also about helping them understand their needs, wants and concerns. And what we’re ultimately going for is what we call self-discovery. Because people are more likely to change when that change emanates from within, and in the book, we offer you a step-by-step approach on how to achieve this through self-discovery questions: what-if questions. Questions that stretch the buyer’s time horizon. In this segment of the planner, the goal is to summarize what you discover and what you help the buyer discover during this process.

The next phase of this planner is identifying some of your persuasion techniques. What are you going to do to persuade the buyer? Are you going to build familiarity? Are you going to demonstrate hard cost savings? What persuasion techniques are you going to use? And again, in Selling Through Tough Times, we highlight, basically, the seven rules for persuasion through tough times. I would encourage you to pick that up. Check it out. But again, the Tough Times Account Planner is going to help get you there.

Guys, so once you persuade that buyer, once you have your persuasion plan in place, it’s time to go out there and act. Our research shows that 42% of top-achieving salespeople have a plan of attack for their number one opportunity. If you want to be a top achiever, you have to do what top achievers will do. Our research shows that 42% of them have a plan of attack, whereas less than one in four of regular salespeople put together a plan. If you’re looking for a tip on how to start the year strong, pick three high-value targets. Go to and get the planner, and then build your plan.

Then you go execute. That’s the key. Nobody has ever planned their way to a quota. So once you plan, you execute. You execute the plan. You put it to work. You take action. But by going through this exercise, you’re going to be more confident, you’re going to have more guidance. You’re going to know what to do.

Make it a big day.

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