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If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?


If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?

Every high performing salesperson and sales leader most likely has used this phrase to increase their professionalism. Have you? During the past 18 years of working with and training sales managers around the world this phrase is one of the most powerful lessons I believe we pass on to our clients, but it leads to additional unexpected benefits as well.

First, this phrase must be used by the sales manager on a regular basis; after every sales call they make with their sales team members and after every role play situation in their sales training meetings. Its purpose? It really has multiple purposes or results; 1) after a sales call it allows the manager to create a dialogue with the salesperson regarding the performance of the salesperson during the sales call and 2) it allows the salesperson to also critique themselves before the sales manager offers their insights. One of the other benefits is during a sales training classroom situation. Using this phrase allows the salesperson to critique themselves prior to the sales manager asking the other participating salespeople for their reactions to the role play-before the manager provides their ideas. This group focus increases the use and redundancy of using this important coaching tool.

I have asked this question after many on-site sales calls, I have had salespeople tell me they thought the call went well except for something minor, when in reality they had not developed rapport, trust or closed the call without next steps
?even after using our Pre-Call Planning Checklist! However after using the phrase over a period of time during our consulting engagement, we begin to see self-corrections and better insights into call preparation and sales call execution. It’s the attention to detail that is critical in improving performance.

Why all the attention of using this phrase so often and consistently? The reason is simple, most sales managers are not on every sales call! Consequently the objective for the manager is to drive into the salesperson to ask themselves after every sales call or customer interaction: if I had it to do over again, what would I do differently-if anything? This self reflection is a must if you are going to create a self-managed and increasingly higher performing sales team.

Only through immediate review and correction can a professional continue to improve their skills and learn how to increase their personal effectiveness.

This is the pay-off for the sales manager-creating salespeople that are independent of their sales manager and that are self-improving. These are the keys to building predictable revenue.

Let me switch to the second purpose of this question. I use this phrase as an opener in one of my keynote programs, I describe that training and consulting on sales management issues has allowed me to see how increasing the professionalism/success of salespeople and sales leaders sometimes increased their levels of personal success. This balance between personal and professional levels of performance is the long term critical success factor.

I ask my audiences to evaluate their lives using the same question and then I say:

“While we can’t relive our lives we can change the way we live our lives.”

balance In my many years of business life, the individuals who live their lives with a focus on creating a fulfilling experience are the ones that win in the end. Ask yourself about your life, if you had it to do over again; what would you do differently-if anything? As a sales professional you have the opportunity to impact the lives of those around you-beyond what you sell- but you first must be in control of your life. We have found that those individuals who are not in life-balance burn out, become ineffective or simply cannot connect on a personal level and achieve higher levels of success.

In my keynote I use a “Personal Pizza” and a “Professional Pizza” assessment tool each having 8 slices and I ask each person to rate themselves on a scale of 1-7 on each slice. Each slice represents one aspect of professional/personal life. This helps everyone see where they are in the professional/personal continuum.

Focusing on improvement takes making a commitment but it’s the difference between being a professional and being an amateur:

A professional has a commitment to a calling…the education, training, and expertise that an amateur does not have. This commitment to become a true professional is a key to differentiating yourself in the marketplace.

Which are you?

If you had it to do over again; what would you do differently-if anything?



Thoreson Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world. He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program
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