Test Your Potential Before the Market Tests You

By Barry Pruitt

dateSun, May 29, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

I’ve known many leaders with good potential who were never tested. I’ve also known many leaders withTest.jpg good potential who were tested - and failed. And then, there are those with potential (or not) who were tested and proven worthy. 

What is it that defines that person, in that moment, to be great? To prove out potential? There are, of course, some people who seem to just naturally know what to do. Yet, very few of those know how to teach it to others and become the lid on their own company’s growth. They think that we should all instinctively know what to do and when to do it. My experience and observation indicate to me that if someone continually learns and challenges himself or herself, then they are the ones in the best position for those opportunities.

When I think of being in good position for opportunity, I think of Jack Daly, author, sales superstar, and the one guy I know who has published his goals (and year in review) online since 2010. Jack is on a quest to complete a total of 100 marathons with at least one in each of 50 states. So, I went to Jack for his opinion on this question, How to Test Your Superstar Potential?

Here are Answers and Insights from Jack:

As a professional sales person, you should always be stretching yourself towards continuous improvement. To determine where you stand in relation to the Superstar Salesperson, take the following quiz. Grade yourself on each category/activity, based on the following:

3= I'm doing this now, consistently.

2= I'm doing this now, occasionally.

1= I don't do this now, but am willing to start.

0= I'm not interested in doing this.

Even if you are the consummate sales professional, the only hope of staying at the top of your game is ongoing and continuous improvement. As you read through and complete this quiz, look to identify how and where you can take your business actions and performance to an even higher level. As is true so often on tests of this nature, we will identify several things we already know, and in fact were once doing, yet are doing them no longer. Use this exercise as the catalyst to reinvent yourself and your business!


___ Have a written one-year plan.

___ Have a tracking and reporting system to monitor performance to plan.

___ Incorporate life goals beyond pure business goals.

___ Know the daily/weekly/monthly actions necessary to reach key objectives.

___ Start off each day with a detailed to-do list.

___ Follow a disciplined time management system.

___ Have the necessary patience, realizing superstar results come from a process not an event.


___ Try new and innovative marketing ideas.

___ Understand and implement an effective "perception of value" campaign.

___ Have an ongoing "touch system" to stay visibly in front of my market.

___ Evaluate my competition to gain and implement new, winning ideas.

___ Spend at least 50 percent of my time each week talking with prospects, customers and clients.

___ Seek out and develop niche markets to expand my marketing and business reach.


___ Approach new markets and new business sources regularly.

___ Identify a "Prospect Basket" of candidates to do new business with, and weekly pursue a specific quantity, inclusive a proactive follow-up.

___ Practice "Model the Masters" by brainstorming with other superstar sales professionals in your business.

___ Be actively involved in both trade associations and community groups to ensure visibility.


___ Calculate the lifetime value of your customers.

___ Be selective in whom you work with, and manage your time accordingly.

___ Maintain a database of standard form letters for typical customer contact points.

___ Provide value added suggestions, ideas, and tools to help your database be more successful, and enhance your relationships.


___ Create the "Great First Impression." Make it easy for first-time customers to be enthusiastic about referring business opportunities to you.

___ Have a formal plan and process for asking for referrals at different stages where appropriate.

___ Refer business to your clients whenever possible.


___ Treat your book of business as if it were a business.

___ Invest in your business and marketing efforts, don't wait for the company to do so.

___ Stay focused on business creating activities.

___ Seek out a mentor to help you reach the next level.

___ Master your key products and services.

___ Attend industry conferences, seminars, and maintain a regular industry reading program.


___ Align oneself with top professionals and a company with a solid reputation.

___ Maintain ongoing recognition systems for 1) prospects, customers, clients, 2) fellow sales associates, and 3) sales support team.

___ Focus on key revenue generating activities, delegating admin activities to support personnel/assistants.

___ Leverage the company resources as further support to your business.

___ Maintain a practice of "under-promise," "over-deliver" in daily business activities.


SCORE Yourself:. Add your total of the above criteria. If you scored:

85-105 congratulations on your superstar performance and direction. Ensure you review this key activity indicator and work on your areas where improvement is indicated.

60-85 suggests an acceptable direction towards sales professionalism; however, there remain a good number of areas for improvement and opportunity. Pick two-three specific activities to focus on for improvement. Once implemented, return to this indicator and choose additional areas for improvement.

Below 60. This is a wake-up call and suggests an overall relook and rework of your activities and commitment to excellence in the sales profession. Use this quiz as your starting point.

Thank you, Jack, for your insights. If you’ve never been tested, why wait? Take the quiz and map your path of progress. If you’ve been tested and felt like you failed, use this as a chance to reset the course of future leadership. If you’ve been tested and proven worthy, teach your team as your company grows. This effort is the foundation towards a successful future and a way to test your potential before the market tests you.

*Note: Jack said to thank the many Sales Professionals and Superstars for their guidance in assembling this tool, as well as Doug Smith of Douglas Smith & Associates.


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

Barry Pruitt


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images