Goal setting is one of the more boring topics to discuss but it is also one of the more important things you can do for yourself in your life and your career. The best sales professionals in the world set daily, weekly, monthly, annual and life-long goals. They also write them down and tell people about them. Without goals you’re letting someone else dictate the path. With goals you define the path and have a focal point to drive towards.
Goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). You can’t set a goal of “I want to be better.” How can you possibly measure that? Here are two ways to set a goal: 1) I want to get in shape or 2) I want to be 185 lbs, cut up, benching 225 by May 5th 2007. Which one is a more effective way to set a goal and would produce a better result? Obviously the second one. When do you think I was in the best shape of my life? May 5th, 2007. Why? Because I was getting married in Arizona and was going to be out at the pool with all my friends and family and wanted to look good. Ever since then I’ve wanted to “get in shape.” Needless to say, I don’t go to the pool all that often any more.
You should also write down your goals. If you just have a goal in your head it’s easy to make adjustments to them and ultimately convince yourself they aren’t important. Everyone likes crossing something off a list, no matter how mundane it might be. Make yourself feel good and create a list of goals and then cross them off as you achieve them. For example, write down three SMART goals that you want to achieve at the beginning of every day. At the end of the day, no matter how bad you think your day went, if you crossed off those three goals you had a pretty good day. If you didn’t cross them off, you could have done better. Write down a goal for the next meeting or call you have with a client (example: I have a call with a non-decision maker and my goal for this call is to get them to introduce me to the decision maker). It will keep you focused on what you are trying to accomplish and what is really important for you to help move the deal forward.
Finally, tell people about your goals, especially your big ones. It puts an additional pressure on you to achieve them which is a good thing. For example, I’m about to turn 38 years old. I have a goal to “retire” by 40 which means when I wake up at 40 I will work because I want to, not because I have to. I’m going to work until I’m 100 but I want to be able to choose without having to chase contracts and worry about money. One of the ways I’m helping visualize myself getting to that point is by the picture you see associated with this post. She’s a 1958 Vet and costs about $100k in mint condition. At 40 I want to be able to write a check for her without having it hurt. I’m also telling everyone about my goal (obviously) so that when I turn 40 I get a bunch of people asking me if I’ve hit my goal yet.
Where do you want to be in 5 years? What are you going to do tomorrow? What can you do today? Write it down and make it happen. Good luck and happy selling.