As a sales coach I see some sales people drift aimlessly from day to day and year to year. There is no focus on a long-term plan for their life, let alone for their sales life. Other sales executives set detailed goals and conform strictly to daily to-do lists. The rest of us are somewhere in the middle. Now that you know you are “normal”, where do you grow from here and set goals for 2017 that will help you grow, go, and maybe even glow? Here are ten tips for goal setting success, and how each one applies to your sales life.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #1: Set keystone habits first.
“Keystone” is a term used to define the significance of one piece or component in a system of parts. It pre-dates to the Mesopotamian's who used a single solitary stone – later termed a keystone – to lock other stones in an arch. When you set these keystone goals as a priority then the other goals begin to fall into place much more easily. For example, if you want to prospect with a passion in 2017, you cannot do this if you are tired by 2pm. So, your first goal needs to be getting more rest. According to the Centers For Disease Control, nearly one in three adults in this country get an average of less than seven hours of sleep a night. Experts at the Mayo Clinic will tell you that most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to achieve peak performance. If you overlook the keystone goals, you are overlooking the fundamental foundation of your goal setting success. If you are not sure of your keystone goals, this is a great topic to bring up with your sales coach as you set your agenda for the New Year.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #2: Identify the why in the goal.
The “what” of a goal is pretty easy to define. For example, I want to grow my client base. The “how” is about creating mini-goals. See #6 in this blog. The “why” is the critical and often missing piece of goal setting success. It is also the hard part. Do you have deep and profound reasons for wanting to achieve the business goals that you set for yourself? I’m not talking about superficial reasons. I’m talking about meaningful reasons. You need to attach a meaningful reason why to each goal. For example, I want to earn 25% more this year to send my kid to private school. Without the why, the what will often fall flat.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #3: Plan for the year, not January.
Buy a big flat calendar for your wall. A calendar that shows all the months of the year. Then, break down your goals across the total year. Most failures happen in the first 60 days or less. By spreading out your goals you allow yourself time to actually achieve them. For example, you might set your prospecting goals for January and the creation of your new proposal templates for March. It is so helpful to see the entire year road map for your goal setting success.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #4: Find an accountability buddy.
Researchers at the University College London found that partners who adopted a new and positive behavior together were more successful than those who tried to change on their own. If you do not have the option of a buddy, then use your calendar to remind you. Even simple items need a place on your calendar or put these important items in the Reminders app that is built into your iPhone. Maybe you need a sales coach? Maybe your accountability buddy is a fellow sales person? For example, prospecting is a critical sales process. Maybe you set a time at 11am each day to prospect. You will have more success if you find a partner to do the exact same task at the exact same time. At the very least, your accountability buddy would follow-up with you on a certain date about a certain task.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #5: Set a realistic timeframe for success.
The timeframes required to develop a new habit or new routine, depending on the complexity of the habit and your level of commitment, is usually 3 to 6 weeks. In other words, if you do your ‘habit’ consistently for 3 to 6 weeks, it should become routine to you. Kicking an old habit theoretically takes the same amount of time. But, kicking some habits is a little harder. For example, you may want to work on your closing skills. This is not an overnight task. You might say I will practice with Bill this week in the office and try my new closing techniques on two sales calls this week.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #6: Create mini-goals.
A big goal is great. But, there are normally steps that need to be accomplished to meet the goal. For example, if you want to grow your sales business 25%, you may need to adjust your prospecting process, your proposal process and your closing process. This means there are three mini-goals to your larger goal. Just like steps on a ladder, you also need to often take small steps to get to the goal. It is imperative that you set these mini-goals right away. Do not wait for failure to then go back and set the mini-goals.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #7: Use technology to track your progress.
I use the Reminders app pre-installed in my iPhone every single day. There are many tools online that are more robust.
Nozbe is used for tracking goals, habits, and daily tasks. Set up each goal as a project and then create milestones, tasks, and habits related to each of your goals. Coach.Me is a veteran of habit-tracking programs. It started with the premise that you have a better chance of reaching your stated goals and establishing new habits if you crowd source feedback and encouragement. The idea of accountability if core to its success. GoalsOnTrack is one of the most robust goal-setting programs. It allows you to record the goal, the purpose, the start date, end date, metrics, sub-goals, habits, and action plans.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #8: Plan to adjust your plan.
Things happen. Or, as I like to say, “Sales Happen”. Every day is not a good day in sales land. So, plan to adjust your goals as needed to keep on track. As a sales coach, I have new clients come to me for help on this point all the time. If you skip a day, get back to it the next day. You may even want to set up a discipline for yourself if you miss. For example, if I don’t prospect for new clients today I will put $10 in my charity jar. I know it sounds a bit silly, but just the fact that you think about consequences as it relates to missing your goal can help you hit your goal. You will fail at some point. So, what is the plan to get back on track quickly? For example, I use a specific date and time to get me back on track. If I miss my hour to prospect at 11am, I push all else aside at 4pm to complete the task.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #9: Set goals that are within your control.
This is critical to your goal setting success. As a sales coach, I am all to often guiding my clients down a path of doom that they have set for themselves because they set goals that they can not control. For example, if you say that you are going to set more realistic revenue goals, yet you do not control the budget, you are doomed.
Sales Goal Setting Idea #10: Celebrate success.
No matter the size of the goal, you need to celebrate each and every win. My team used to HATE the small hotel style bell that I set on the counter at the front of our office. Whenever a sale was made the sales rep would ring the bell. The ring went from a small ding to a huge smashing of the poor bell after having it in place for 90 days. I keep several of these bells in my desk drawer. I actually encourage the breaking of the bell for huge deals. Celebration can come in small and big doses. From rewarding yourself with a massage to buying lunch for the team. The important part is to celebrate victories.
Achieving your goals takes more than good intentions. You have to take action and then systematically measure your progress. You may need some help to stay on track beyond apps, your accountability buddy or your calendar. That is why a sales coach might be a big help to you. I would love to be your sales coach. If not me, look for a coach that is certified by a group like the International Coach Federation. Also, look for a coach that has lived in your world. A good sales coach can coach almost anyone. A great sales coach will often have been a former sales person. This gives them a unique perspective on your life as they guide you on your journey to sales success.
Best of luck exceeding your sales goals in 2017!
About this blogger:
Ryan Dohrn is an award winning sales coach and offers sales training to thousands of sales executives each year. He is also an international motivational speaker and the author of the best selling sales book, Selling Backwards. Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on sales training and coaching for media and technology companies. He is also the owner and Publisher of SalesTrainingWorld.com an online portal for sales training success.
Ryan R. Dohrn
President/Founder, Brain Swell Media LLC
Follow him on Twitter.com/ryandohrn for daily tips and advice.