Sound Sales: Setting personal goals helps performance
The end of the year is quickly approaching. For many people, the new year is a time to make changes and improvements in their life. With that in mind, for November and December’s columns, I’m going to deal with two subjects that go hand-in-hand – setting goals and developing a road map.
Most salespeople have goals, can clearly state their goals and fully understand goals and how to set them, right? If you ask me – a lifelong sales professional and a professional sales trainer and consultant – I would say, “wrong.”
Few sales professionals have goals, or the right goals, or understand goal-setting and its purpose. Many confuse goals with dreams. I would agree that most sales professionals have dreams – things they want to achieve personally, financially and professionally. Often, they confuse their dreams with goals.
A goal is a dream with a plan. More specifically, a goal is a dream with a strategic plan and exercising the proper behavior to carry it out. Do you have goals, or just dreams?
I once saw Coach Lou Holtz on a night time talk show discussing the fact that, in his early adult years, he established approximately 107 goals, such as: becoming the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame; being the head coach of a National Championship team; appearing on the Johnny Carson show; writing a book; and on and on. When I saw him being interviewed in the mid-1990’s, he had accomplished 88 of his 107 lifetime goals. WOW!!!
It’s nearly impossible to establish professional goals or sales achievement goals without establishing lifetime goals first. So let me ask you, do you have a life plan?
A Life Plan
How can you set business goals for yourself, if they do not coincide with what you want to achieve personally? To set a goal to make $ 250,000 a year without having a plan for why you need that amount or how you are going to use the money is meaningless. The compensation which you would like to earn must funnel back to a plan.
One of my early clients was a guy named Jeff, the owner of a small relocation business. When my training touched upon goals and life plans, I must have set off light bulbs in Jeff’s head. He realized not having a life plan was the key element which was holding him back from further achievements in business and sales.
Jeff’s income was about $ 75,000 per year, which was at the low end of his comfort zone. He wanted to do better, he certainly had the wherewithal to do better. The opportunity was there, but he had been stuck at $ 75K for three years. He lacked the motivation to increase his income because he did not have a clear vision of why he wanted greater income. Jeff asked me to help him put together a life plan, which we broke down into three different areas.
- Personal Accomplishments
- Lifestyle / Leisure Time
- Financial Equation
When you put a life plan together, you need to revisit it every year in order to update it and possibly make some changes. As the years pass, you will find the things that are important to you can change.
The purpose of annual goals is to keep you focused on a destination. Imagine getting in a car and driving for hours and hours without a destination. You don’t know where you’re going or how to get there. This idea seems ludicrous. However, it’s no different than sales professionals trying to do their job without having goals. Goals help define the necessary actions required on a daily basis to find our destination.
In my work training sales professionals, I’ve seen more than my share of salespeople who lacked courage – the ability to ask tough questions or the ability to plant their feet when necessary. Courage in sales is doing what you have to do when you have to do it – even though you don’t like doing it.
What I’ve discovered is that sales professionals who lack courage frequently do not have goals. The lack of a destination creates a lack of courage, because you have no reason to summon it up. Therefore, now is the time for you to exercise your courage and to begin developing your life plan.
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