By Michael Caron, President, Northbound Learning
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.
The sad truth is that while 20% of the general population set written goals, only 5% reach them. Poor Tom, like most, do their goal setting and review only once a year—not nearly enough. In fact, most don’t even bother to do a review of last year’s goals leading to a repeat of the same unsuccessful strategy. To increase his odds of reaching his goals, he should be reviewing them monthly and the important ones weekly. Here are some of the other steps needed for goal fulfillment . . .
Effective goal management needs to be S.M.A.R.T. That is:
SPECIFIC: the more specific, the better. Saying, “I’d like to sell more this year,” isn’t good enough. How many more sales exactly? At what margin?
MEASURABLE: as the saying goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” You need to know if you’re winning or losing and you can’t tell if you’re not keeping score. It’s best to have major goals broken down into mini-goals that you can measure along the way.
ACTIONABLE: Hope doesn’t cut it. You need to have a massive action plan designed. And you need to be ready to change. How many more calls am I going to do each month, each week, each day? Are they scheduled in your agenda? Are you planning on increasing your selling skills? How? When?
REALISTIC: Goals need to be a delicate balance between too hard and too easy. Too hard and you’ll give up when you see it being out of reach. Too easy and you’ll feel like you haven’t really accomplished anything. R also stands for REVIEW. Reviewing your progress along the way allows you to adjust your tactics accordingly.
TIME PHASED: If there is no time frame, there is no goal. Would you really be happy if you increased your sales in your last year before retirement? Of course not. Attach dates to everything. Pull out your goals regularly and “keep your eye on the prize”. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by some of the uncomfortable steps along the way. Keep your focus on how amazing you’re going to feel when you’ve reached your objective.
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.