Most sales people I meet are genuinely busy. They are trying to meet new customers, find new deals, qualify them, move them to closure.

It seems to be almost a badge of honor when I speak to sales people, to proclaim the long hours and hard work. Sometimes, they proudly proclaim, “I’m selling everything I can!”

And that’s a problem for me.

Typically, when someone proudly states they are “selling everything they can,” they aren’t selling what they need to be selling. Stated differently, they are trying hard, but their quotas and goals are not front and center.

As sales people, we are accountable, to ourselves and our companies, to achieve our goals. This isn’t the same as selling everything we can–it is precisely what I mean when I ask, “Are you selling what you need to be selling?”

Just being busy, just having days filled with activity, back to back meetings, being well intentioned, is insufficient to achieving our goals.

We need to be jealous of our time and purposeful in everything we do. We need to focus on the prospects, customers and critical activities that enable us to achieve our goals.

This isn’t about working hard and hoping. It’s about having a plan in place, and executing that plan every day. It’s about adjusting our plans and what we do, as things change.

To the casual observer, selling what we can and selling what we need to sell may look similar. Both are prospecting, both finding/qualifying opportunities, both meeting with customers, both wanting to close business.

But the people focused on achieving their goals are more focused. They don’t waste their time on prospects/opportunities outside their ICP. They know selling isn’t about pitching products, but helping the customers buy and solve their problems. They are vicious in chasing qualified opportunities and have no time for wishful thinking. They are prepared and create value in every exchange.

People who focus on selling what they need, will nearly always find a way to achieve their goals. People who sell what they can–well that’s all they do.