You began 2010 by saying goodbye to the challenges of the past year (maybe even decade), and looking ahead to the opportunities that lie ahead. With the first quarter behind us, what have you done thus far to make this your best year ever? These five actions can launch you onto a path to more success in your future.

Reflect on your marketing and sales efforts over the last year. What have you done – not just intended to do – but really accomplished? What has worked and what has not? To what can you attribute the success (or lack of success) of select efforts? Make a list of changes you need to make in 2010.

Get your attitude together. It is said that we only use 12% of our brain power. Beyond that, I believe the height of your success depends significantly on the altitude of your attitude. What you think about tends to come about. If you think you are going to convert each qualified prospect inquiry into a sale, you start with a big advantage. Likewise, if you think it is going to be hard to convert them, you start with a severe disadvantage. Thinking positive can help jump-start your success.

Make a marketing action plan. This plan is the action roadmap part of your overall marketing plan. For each marketing effort, list the actions you will take, the timelines involved, the people responsible for each task, the budget you need to allocate, and the method you will use to evaluate the results. Plan at least one activity per quarter – monthly is even better. Layer marketing efforts, meaning you go beyond advertising to include publicity generation, community and industry marketing, and customer relations activities.

Work your plan. Putting it down on paper or in an electronic file is only a step in the right direction. To reach your sales goals, it is absolutely imperative that you complete the activities you listed in your marketing action plan. Though you may need to revise your plan as your situation and market conditions dictate, execution is key.

Reward yourself. When a marketing effort has yielded the qualified leads you had hoped it would or when you have made that sale, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. It does not have to be something huge. Maybe you get that small piece of equipment you have been wanting or celebrate with a good bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers. Rewarding yourself is part of making marketing fun, and it can help motivate you to get busy on that next activity in your marketing action plan.

Market like you mean it in 2010! May this year bring you more qualified prospective buyers than ever.

Julie Wassom