Here Are 5 Business Resolutions to Start Right Now A new year brings with it all sorts of opportunities to think about how we can improve ourselves, not just in our personal lives but also professionally.

By Alice Myerhoff

This story originally appeared on Salesforce

A new year brings with it all sorts of opportunities to think about how we can improve ourselves, not just in our personal lives, but also professionally. It's a great time to take a few moments to ponder what we did well in the previous year and think about what we can do better in the new one. Are there new tools to try or existing ones that could use a little polishing? Are we operating at our fullest potential? What can we do to make that happen?

In that spirit of contemplating how we can launch into 2015 and make it as prosperous as possible, I offer the following New Year's resolutions for salespeople.

1. Update your LinkedIn profile

This is kind of like updating your resume, but I want you to refresh your LinkedIn profile with a different reader in mind: not a potential employer, but instead a potential customer or partner. What kind of information would help them decide that they want to do business with you? Here are a few key tips for having a top notch LinkedIn profile:

  • Use a great photo for your profile that shows your face.
  • Get a recommendation or two from an existing or past client.
  • Write the introductory paragraph in the first person so that you come across as approachable and helpful.
  • Use rich media. For example, upload some presentations or video to your profile.

Related: The Secret to Successful Goal-Setting (And Having Your Best Year Ever)

2. Read more

I happen to be a bookworm. When I was a little girl, I even wanted to be a librarian when I grew up, which is a long way to say that I love to read. However, there are many good reasons to read beyond just pleasure. You can become an expert in the industry you work in by reading books, periodicals, blogs, and news about your particular vertical. This can pay dividends.

First of all, you'll be at least as knowledgeable as the people you are calling on and if your customers see that, you will become an information resource for them. This also means that you can share the most useful information that you find with your customers which gives you an opportunity to connect with them in a friendly and useful way to enhance your relationship. Secondly, reading is great for your vocabulary. Being an excellent communicator, part of which includes having an extensive vocabulary, is a vital skill for successful salespeople.

3. Do some personal development

Many salespeople get some amount of sales training through their work — which is great. You should always take advantage of those opportunities. Make 2015 the year that you seek out some personal/professional development opportunities for yourself outside of work. What are some skills that you'd like to improve? Writing persuasively? Public speaking? Find a class or organization that can help you develop these skills. I recently joined a local Toastmasters group so that I could work on my public speaking skills. I can't recommend this organization enough. Not only is my comfort with public speaking improving quickly, but I've also met several interesting people.

Related: 6 Purges Every Entrepreneur Should Make This New Year

4. Engage on social media platforms

Make this the year that you learn more about how to make social media work for you by using it to find new relationships and enhance existing ones. On Twitter you can grow your network by simply following and retweeting and responding to the people that you'd like to get to know better. On LinkedIn, post status updates regularly and explore participating in LinkedIn groups. I get into a bit more detail on using LinkedIn this blog post and if you really want to dig in, check out my book. Even commenting on blog posts can position you as a thought leader and thereby expand your network, and couldn't we all use a bigger network?

5. Single-tasking

Many of us try to get more done by multi-tasking. Although we may think we're accomplishing more things in less time because we feel harried and fragmented, this behavior doesn't typically turn into top quality results. Therefore, in 2015 I encourage you to do one thing at a time, and in doing so, you'll do a better job on that one thing because it will have your full attention.

For example, many people keep their laptops open or mobile phones at the ready during a meeting and will glance periodically at email, etc. This means that the meeting is only getting part of your attention. Especially if this is a client meeting, not being fully present can result in a huge missed opportunity to show your interest, listen carefully, and gather as much information as possible. Strive to give whatever you are doing your full attention. This can reap great rewards in both professional and personal settings.

Now, I invite you to share your ideas for New Year's resolutions that will help build your business. Please add them in the comments below. Let's help one another make 2015 the best year yet!

Related: 10 Ways to Crush It in 2015

Wavy Line
Alice Myerhoff

Author and Sales and Marketing Expert

Alice Myerhoff is author of Social Media for Salespeople and is a sales and marketing expert with more than 18 years of experience in industries ranging from online games, educational technology and social business to online news media, real estate and mortgage. 

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