Baby stepsYou can’t just wake up and run a marathon.  Well, I guess the very first guy did, but he died as soon as he finished.

To run a marathon, you have to start with shorter distances.  And before you can run even five miles, you have to run a mile.

Even short-distance runners use this approach to get out and finish their workouts.  Any runner will tell you the hardest part about getting the run done isn’t the run itself, but first getting their shoes on and getting outside, then getting the first mile completed.

Let’s bring it back to sales.  To build your pipeline and exceed quota, you need a lot of qualified prospects and opportunities.  But to get there, you need to do a lot of activity.  Calls, LinkedIn requests, warm introductions, follow-ups, etc.

I see countless salespeople intimidate themselves into doing nothing, because they start with a goal that’s just too big.  Want to make 40 calls today?  Start with five.

If you have a goal of initiating contact with 10 new prospects every day (even if you’re doing so via warm referrals) start with five.  Heck, start with two.

Building the discipline and habit of major change starts with tiny habits.  This takes a couple forms.

First, don’t sit down and tell yourself you can’t get up until you complete 20 calls.  Make the first two.  Chances are, you’ll have “broken the seal” on getting some momentum, and can focus yourself on continuing to execute.

Second, don’t expect you’ll be able to run a marathon the first week.  Set reasonable goals, even if they’re just a fraction of where you ultimately want to be.

If your sales model says you need to contact 10 prospects a day, start this week with three.  Next week, ramp it to five.

Driving yourself to frustration because you expected too much too fast isn’t helping anybody.