It’s amazing how far a number of companies and sales teams have come in the last couple of years.

I’m having many more conversations with sales leaders, CEOs and others who are telling me business is outstanding and life is good.

When I hear comments like this, I get scared for one simple reason.

People are not paying attention to what is happening out there, and at the same time, they are benchmarking their success off the dismal results from a few years ago.

Recently, I was talking with the president of a successful company.  His comment was, “We’re blowing away our number this year and next year looks even better.”

He went on to say how he was finally able to recapture a lot of lost profit he had to forgo the last five years.  He continued, saying how his intent was to not do any significant spending in marketing or sales development, due to business being good and his desire to pad the bottom-line.

I hung up the phone cringing over what I had heard and, more importantly, what the president had allowed himself to believe.   He was pleased with his growth, and yet when I compared his growth to the overall growth of the industry he was in, he wasn’t even keeping pace.  In fact, he was losing market share.

Excuse me, but this is like whistling as you’re being lead to the firing squad.

I had a good relationship with this particular executive, so I didn’t hesitate to call him back. He was shocked at what I told him.  Clearly, he had never taken the time to see where he stood compared to his peers.

Secondly, he said it didn’t matter, because his investors were happy and the last thing he wanted to do was stir things up.  He told me how much pain he had been through keeping the investors calm when things were bad. Now he just wanted to enjoy some calm.

This attitude is far more pervasive with companies today than anyone wants to admit.  What is happening is people are comparing today’s success to yesterday’s failure and getting excited, when in reality they’re still getting their clocked cleaned.

If you’re not pushing full throttle even when times are good, what is going to happen to you when things soften?

The best time to be grabbing new market share and new customers is when things are good.  Doesn’t it make sense that if you have a greater market share and more customers when times are good, you’ll be in a better position to weather any downturn?

What I see happening is how quickly we’re forgetting what we just went through.  Two questions you need to be asking:

Am I growing market share?

How much of my business is coming from new customers and/or new products and services?

This isn’t about simply having a profitable business. It’s about knowing what it is going to take to achieve your full potential of growth.

Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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High-Profit Selling

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