Your first New Years resolution should be not to make any!
Achieving important goals takes much more than making a few resolutions every January
Call them what you want but technically they’re the same thing – resolutions or goals. Typically, however, resolutions are goals that most people start the year with and are usually accompanied by short lived passion. The sad fact is that while almost one out of two of us make new years resolutions, by the end of the year, only 12% of them are achieved. That’s an 88% failure rate, not much better than those who don’t even bother to set some. A recent study showed that 1 out of 4 people can’t even stick to their resolutions through the first week!
Why is this? The simple answer is because most people don’t manage their goals as an ongoing process. They simply “set ‘em and forget ‘em.” We’ve all done it. We sit at a blank piece of paper or computer screen (I bet many will be looking at it on their iPad they got for Christmas) and write some stuff down that we think are goals. At this stage, I’d call them wishes rather than goals because most often they don’t fit the SMART criteria.
(Hunter: insert the SMART graphic here)
In working with salespeople for many years, where do I see people fall down?
Failure Strategy #1: They don’t know why?
Sure, it sounds good to say, “I’d like to make $X more this year” or “I’m going to get in shape” but where did these goals come from? Did you just pull them out of your ear or other body orifice because they sounded good? Doing things differently to get different results is hard. If it were easy, everyone would be rich, healthy and good looking. OK, maybe not good looking but you know what I mean. If it’s not clear what the fantastic benefits are of reaching your goal and what awful things happen when you don’t, you won’t have the drive to carry you through the rough spots. If making more sales commissions this year means you can provide for your child’s university education, you’ll feel like making a couple more sales calls on a Friday when your colleagues have wrapped things up for the week. Greig Clark, the founder of College Pro Painters and an early mentor of mine used to say, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Hell might be a strong word but the point that success takes a lot more than just hope is clear.
Failure Strategy #2: No weekly and monthly review.
When an airliner takes off from Toronto to Vancouver, it corrects its course thousands of times to land safely at YVR. We need to do the same thing. Every month, you should pull out your annual goals (all of them – not just your business goals) and ask one important question, “What do I need to achieve this month that will let me hit my goal by the end of the year?” Stuff will start falling out of your head. Writing these down will take you about 30 minutes. For example, an annual goal of increasing your sales by 15% might lead you to a monthly goal of “Do sales interviews & strategy with 10 customers who favour the competition over our company.”
Each week, you’ll need to do the same routine with your monthly goals to turn them into weekly goals. At this point, they will be quite tactical and will look very much like activities or tasks. That’s OK as they have to be bite-sized so you can plug them into your time management system. This will take you about 15 minutes.
Failure Strategy #3: No accountability.
If you like to be held accountable, put your hand up. Uh huh, sure you do. Most people like to be held accountable as much as they like multiple root canals. The fact is that people who are accountable achieve more — period! It’s not open to debate as several studies show. Think about the best coach you ever had in your life and I’ll bet they didn’t say, “Let’s not bother checking in to see if you did what you said you were going to do.” Like the famous cough medicine ad, accountability “tastes bad but it works.” If you agreed with someone to hold you to a higher level of accountability, would you invite it or fight it? The ones who invite it will achieve more sales success and I’m willing to bet on it.
At our “Bulls Eye!” workshop, we help people design individual sales plans for the year. For more information and pricing, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve got my annual goals done and one of them is to help each of you toss out the notion of a “New Years resolution” and instead, help you build a solid blueprint for sales success in 2013.
Happy New Year!