If you’re a sales person, or a small business owner, then somewhere at the back of your mind you are probably thinking about how you can make more sales this year and smash your targets.

So what is going to make the difference this year?  There’s no shortcut and there’s no secret sauce, but there is a methodical approach that you can follow to enable you to deliver consistent results and build on each customer success.

Our 5 Step Series of posts will cover how The Sales Way recommends you can change your approach to hit your sales targets this time; without the stress, worry and doubt you may have been feeling last year.

This week, the focus is on what went wrong (and what went right).

The first few months of the year is a great time to pause and think about what went wrong and what went right during the previous year.  The Japanese even have a term to describe this process: “Kaizen” – it’s about critically assessing what we do to make those small, continual improvements.  If we can commit to improving minimally on a very regular basis then we stand to improve much more than if we attempt to make one-off, drastic changes and never end up seeing them through.

By evaluating what went wrong (and what went right), we can come up with a plan for how we improve on all those things we did well, and how we rectify the things we didn’t do so well.

What Went Wrong

Look back over the past year and think about some of the real headline mistakes you made.  Maybe it was an error of judgement, or a missed opportunity – whatever it was, take a few moments to think about what led you to that situation and why you made that decision at that particular time.

Jot down in a notebook what alternative steps you could have taken if you had the chance again, but more importantly, think about what alternative paths that potential mistake opened up for you.  Did it mean that you had to stay in your current role for a bit longer than anticipated, and in doing so you ended up learning a bit more about your company’s processes that may be valuable in your next job?  Or maybe it meant that you had to delay that expensive holiday for anotherThe Sales Way year and instead enjoyed a few weeks at home with your family which you may never have got the opportunity to do otherwise.

Reflecting on what went wrong and extracting the positive from a bad situation ensures that we learn something from the mistake and move on.

For more mundane mistakes, make a list and write next to each one how you would approach this differently throughout 2015.  This year you are now armed with lots of alternatives and opportunities to improve.

What Went Right

It’s often easier to build on success, rather than rectify an error – so make sure you note down all of those customer successes from the previous few years and think about what made you successful in that situation in the first place.

Now, can you apply those steps to any other customers you have?  Can you tailor what you did previously to a different client who you haven’t yet had any luck with?  Or even better, can you take those great success stories out to each of your customers to tell them about the great work you have been doing with other clients which may open up their minds to new ideas or solutions they hadn’t thought of before.

Jot down all of the things you are going to do more of in 2015 that worked particularly well in the past.  Pin this on your noticeboard.  Put it on your fridge.  This is your own personal recipe for success: tried and tested techniques that work just for you.

Now that you have spent some time reflecting on the previous year, you are in a position to move forward and think about how you can build the foundations for your B2B selling in 2015.

I will be publishing the second article in the series on Overachieving in 2015, titled: Building The Foundations.  We will be discussing new ways to approach your sales territory, what needs to be done before you pick up the phone and arrange that next meeting and how to put your best foot forward with clients throughout 2015.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

Read more: How to Determine the Exact Number of Leads You Need to Hit Next Month’s Sales Target