Turn your “resolutions” into a goal management system and finally make them reality!
By Michael Caron, President, Northbound Learning
We’re now in the third month of the new year and I wonder how many of us have gotten a start on our new year’s resolutions. I also wonder how many of us have even taken the time to write or verbalize them. Call them resolutions or call them goals, the sad fact is that only 1 in 20 of us have written goals and worse, only 1 in 5 of those people regularly reach them. That’s an 80% failure rate! Looking at this statistic, it becomes easier to understand why even people who make the effort to set goals or resolutions often give up on the idea. Who wants to fail 80% of the time? It feels rotten. And experts tell us that we will go out of our way to avoid pain much more so than to gain pleasure. This avoidance of pain can stop us in our tracks. The good news amidst all this doom and gloom is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Why do 80% of people who set goals fail to reach them? Is it because they’re lazy or unmotivated? Or is it because they set goals that are crazily unrealistic? The 3 most common reasons for not reaching goals are:
Reason #1 — Not having a strong enough “Why?”
Have you ever set a goal and then months, sometimes years later, question why you ever decided on it in the first place? I know I certainly have. The problem is that unless the importance of a goal is very clear to us, we often run for the hills when we meet a challenge or setback, which we almost always will. Anthony Robbins says that 80% of reaching a goal is in the “why.”
I’m reminded of a childhood friend of mine, Jeff, who, throughout public and high school, openly shared that he was going to be a doctor. At our high school graduation party, his parents had even bought him a doctor’s costume as a joke. Being a very bright and hard- working student, Jeff got accepted into med school at the University of Toronto, the same school I attended. I lost track of Jeff until several years later when I ran into him at a store with his young toddler in tow. I asked him how the doctor world was, to which he replied, “I dropped out and I’m now a Mr. Mom”. My jaw dropped. Not being one to dance around an issue, I probed, “What happened to the whole doctor thing?”. He smiled and confidently said, “I realized it was never what I wanted. It was what my parents wanted.” He continued, “I’m happier than I thought I’d ever be.”
My advice: Make sure that your goals are your goals and that you are clear why you want to accomplish them. Here’s an example of what this might look like:
Overall Goal: Get healthier
Why: I will have more energy which will help in all areas of my life. My stress will go through the roof if I don’t! I will look better and if I look better, I feel better.
Mini-goal 1: Do 30 min of cardio at a 7/10 level min 3x per week
Mini-goal 2: Lose 14 pounds by the end of the 6th month
Goal for the next 30 days: Register for yoga class for the winter session
Action I will take tomorrow to start me on my way: Skip the donut with my morning coffee
Reason #2 — A weak or no action plan
How often have you seen someone who’s experienced a tremendous amount of success say, “Gee, I don’t know how I got to be so successful. It kind of just happened one day!” Hollywood will have you believe it happens much more than in reality. In the real world, great goal achievement is almost always preceded with plans for massive amounts of action.
The best sales plans I’ve seen include sales targets broken down to the number of actual calls needed per day and this time actually scheduled into the sales professional’s agenda for the week. When you think about a goal, it’s a possibility. When you plan it, it becomes a probability. When you schedule the actions to get you there, it can become a reality.
Reason #3 — No review process
I congratulate anyone reading this who has had the courage and foresight to set some resolutions for 2011. You have taken the first important step in achieving what you want. You now need to ensure that you have a system set up to regularly review progress towards your goals and make the adjustments to your tactics if needed. I recommend that you review your annual goals every month and the most important of these, every week. It’s important that you do this in a place where you can “blue sky” with no interruptions.
Once a month, preferably before the next month begins, you will pull out your annual goals and check your progress. The question to ask at this point is, “What can I reasonably do next month to help ensure that I’ll have accomplished this goal by the end of the year?” Then write it down in your month’s goals section of the planner. Prioritize it as an A (needs to get done this month or else something “evil” will happen) or a B (important but not as urgent to get done this month).
Each week, and I suggest on Sunday, review your monthly goals and ask the same question above but using a week instead of a month. Do the same thing with your A’s and B’s. There are many good goal setting apps for the iPhone and iPad, one of the best being “Goal Master”. Check them out.
This whole review system will take you about 1-2 hours/month depending on how detailed you get. This is about the same amount of time as watching a reality TV show. Simply by time-shifting from American Idol to goal management, you can create your own dream life instead of just watching someone else create theirs!
Setting and managing goals requires skills, knowledge and action. You and your team can learn how top performers do it by participating in Northbound’s “Bulls Eye! Reaching Your Goals” workshop. For more information or to arrange a complimentary workshop for your team, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To download a free copy of Northbound’s Goal Planner, click here.
Simple ways to get more prospecting results with less stress
By Michael Caron, President, Northbound Learning
Prospecting is universally the least liked aspect of a sales professional’s existence. Frustratingly, it also represents the greatest potential for income growth for most of us (including me). Here are 3 key areas for prospecting, or better put, business development success:
Have a script — When you’ve only got a few moments to give someone a reason to have a conversation with you, you’d better be able to convey what your message is in a clear, concise and complete manner. Just “winging it” almost always results in a rambling, powerless message that misses the “Compelling Business Reason”.
Practice — How can you tell that you’ve nailed your phone skill? Will your prospects tell you? Not likely. You’ll see it in your numbers but you can’t count on customers to give you honest feedback like, “Well, Michael, I’m not willing to continue this conversation because you haven’t really explained clearly how your service can help me with my problems.”
For honest feedback, you need to practice with a colleague or your manager. It might be slightly painful to the ego to hear their comments but if it will make you more money, I’m sure your bruised ego will recover nicely. Making your mistakes in the field can cost you thousands of dollars.
Track Everything! — Keep track of how many contact attempts you make (phone & e-mail), the number of decision makers your connect with, the number that advance and the number of new meetings you book. You are probably already tracking how many proposals you get out and the number of sales closed and if you are, keep doing it.
You don’t have to have your company’s CRM reprogrammed to do this. A simple, low-tech and proven way to track your prospecting activity is to use a sheet where you place a tick every time you do an activity. Crude? Yes. Effective? Very! Click below for a sample that we call a “Green Sheet” — green because if you’re prospecting, it means you’re growing. At the end of each week, add up your numbers and plug them into a spreadsheet. After a few weeks of this, look at your totals & averages and play CSI investigator.
By looking at the evidence before you, you will be able to draw conclusions that will help you manage your prospecting process better. You will see what’s working and what’s not. You will see if you need to focus on improving your skills, your activity levels or both. Some of the comments I often hear from sales reps who adopt this strategy are, “As soon as I started keeping track of my numbers, they all went up!” and “I now know exactly what I have to do to hit my target this year!”
To download a free copy of Northbound’s “Green Sheet” click here.
If you can put these strategies in play, not only will you get dramatically better results, but you might even dislike prospecting a little less!
You and your team can learn to prospect better and in less time with Northbound’s “Power Prospecting” and “Connecting to Mr. Big Cheese” workshops. For more information or to arrange a complimentary workshop for your team, contact us by email at email@example.com.
Do you really know the cost?
By Michael Caron, President, Northbound Learning
Interruptions are one of the biggest time suckers for most. Did you know that if you are focussing in the middle of a task that it takes 6 minutes to get back to the same level of focus as before the interruption? If you get interrupted just 5 times in an hour, you’re only working at 50% productivity!
Take the advice of a good friend of mine, a Long Islander named Don. “Think about your BEST friend. Picture that person in your mind’s eye. Now, with that person in mind, think about WHY you regard them as your best friend.” Specifically, what is it about them that lead you to feel the way about them that you do? Go ahead and take a minute or two.
Tom, our fictitious and ambitious sales professional sees the new year coming down the track at breakneck speed. What activity does he make part of the season? Finding the best party to go to? Taking in the crazy Boxing Day sales at Electronic World? Yes and yes but Tom also views the dawning of the new block of twelve months as an opportunity to set down some fresh goals, sometimes referred to as New Years resolutions. And that’s great. Having goals always brings greater results than without, but if Tom could embrace some of the key components of achieving goals, he’ll be a lot happier next New Years.
A great thing about training and developing sales teams is that I get to work with salespeople who, by nature, are goal oriented and high achievers. If you would like to learn more about improving your skills in reaching goals, Northbound Learning offers “Bulls Eye! Setting and Reaching Your Goals,” a workshop dedicated to helping sales professionals get what they want out of their career and their life. To download our Goal Planning Worksheet, click here.
Would you like a simple, inexpensive way to increase the number of meetings booked from your prospecting call efforts by 50% or more? I know—that’s like asking if you’d like to pay less in taxes. Of course!
It’s best to send a letter by snail mail. I can hear the groans already. “Snail mail? We live in an instant message world. Why would I ever resort to communication technology that’s in the Dark Ages?” Because electronic communication is so prevalent today, receiving something by regular mail is in fact more impactful. Additionally, email addresses are often difficult to get while mailing addresses are easily available. It also gives you the opportunity to enclose something of value such as a ad specialty or as simple as a coffee card. You will be amazed at how many prospects will remember you and your letter at the time of the call because of an inexpensive token. If you do your math to determine your R.O.I., you’ll see that spending a little time and money on strategic marketing to your prospects pays huge dividends.
Unless you work on a deserted island, dealing with people is a fact of life. The better you are at it, the easier it will be to get along—on and off the job.
Dealing with Mike the Manipulator Mike the Manipulator’s goal is for others to do his job. What do you say in response to his tricky maneuvers? Some possible replies:
I’m not going to tell you in this article that you should be setting goals. If you’re a reader of sales-enhancing literature, you’ve surely read lots on the power of goal setting. If you consistently set written, realistic goals with all the other necessary components for goal success, then read no further. If, however, you are one of the 95% of the population who doesn’t, continue reading.
With a little bit of effort and discipline to avoid the classic goal setting obstacles noted above, you too can turn your dreams into reality.
The coaching process is more than a hypothetical run-through of possible scenarios. Ideally, it takes place all the time: in the field, after calls, and during periods of tough selling. The manager who is a good coach gets into the game and models the performance expected of the sales team.
— DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER