Achieving your goals isn't a slam dunk. Can you do what it takes to meet them?
I recently started going to a personal trainer. At the beginning of our very first session, she asked, "So, what are you trying to accomplish?"
"To get in better shape?", I hesitantly answered.
"Well, without a clear goal, you will not be able to see your progress, you will lose momentum, and we won't be able to see if the training is paying off."
"In that case, to fit in my suits from last year and to grab rebounds in my basketball games without getting pushed around."
"Now, we are talking."
Over the years I've seen many salespeople (and sales managers and companies) get goal planning, action planning, and commitment right, and I've seen many fall short. Without a clear goal they don't know where they're headed, so any path will get them there.
In my experience, only two things set apart those who live by goals and those who don't. Salespeople who live by goals:
- Know where they're headed
- Commit to a goals routine
First, people who have goals know where they want to go. You might be thinking, "I wish it were that simple…I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up, and never have." It's not my purpose here in a short blog post to guide you in discovering your inner purpose, although, mine is to work with a gentle breeze blowing across my keyboard as I gaze out at the shimmering waters of the Atlantic.
If you're searching for your destination, contrary to what you might read in others' writings about goals, you don't have to sort out your entire life purpose in order to achieve in sales. All you need to do is set a target for yourself—that can be as simple as an annual sales target—and to have a good answer for the question, "Does my entire being scream with a desire to achieve this goal? Will I be in agony and turmoil until I do?"
If the answer is yes, then you're in great shape to get started. (Perhaps you don't need all the angst and agony, but salespeople who are not dissatisfied with where they are don't often make it to the next level.)
The second similarity is they commit to a goals routine.
6 Steps to Achieving Sales Goals
Here's a roadmap we suggest you follow:
- Review your sales goals first thing in the morning every day. Say your big picture goal out loud (yes, seriously), then go scan your plan for the week and review goals and actions for the day. At the end of each day, review how the day went, and set goals and actions for the next day.
- On Friday or Saturday, review the week and set goals and actions for the next week.
- Once per week (this can be at your Friday or Saturday review session), review your goals with a goals partner. Your goals partner can be a peer, a mentor, a coach, or a friend, but it needs to be someone you explicitly work with each week to make sure you're on top of your goals, staying committed, and pushing yourself. Along with goals, milestones, and progress, you should discuss any hassles or potholes that are holding you back so you can fight your way through them.
- Once per month, meet with a small group of people you trust to review what you're doing, where you're headed, what you'll do in the next month, and get ideas for how you can achieve more and shake off any nagging hassles that are holding you back.
- Once per quarter, review your progress toward your annual goal. Set no more than 3 quarterly priorities that you'll direct all your passion, energy, and intensity toward so you can stay on track to meet your annual targets. During the quarterly meeting, step back and ask yourself, "What do I absolutely, positively need to get done over the next three months to achieve my annual goals?" Define it, commit to it, and set your monthly targets and actions for the next three months.
- Once per year, set your targets for the next year. Make sure you ask yourself, "What do I need to do to get to my big picture goal?" When you're done with your goals and plan, ask yourself, "If I get done what I am about to do, will it help me get to my big-picture goal?" Make sure it does before you put your head down for a year and make it happen.
As you're crafting your goals, you should also take care to take your big picture goals (e.g. becoming the top-performing sales rep in the company 5 years in a row, making $1,000,000 a year, getting promoted to Senior Vice President, owning the Milwaukee Bucks, retiring at 45…well, maybe 56½) and align them to shorter term goals, including what you need to do this year, this quarter, this month, this week, and today.
Sometimes when we're working with salespeople to craft their goals and actions they get hung up on having "the right template" or detailed tracking mechanism, and since they don't have it, they don't even get started. Don't fret too much about the tracking sheet, but do concentrate on taking a step toward your goal every day.
As I write this post, I still can't fit into those suits, but Dwight Howard has nothing on me under the boards.