Goal Setting: How to Cross the Finish Line

Businessman running to success.

One of the most important keys to success in sales is goal setting. One of my colleagues asked me about my work strategy and how I was managing both our retail and dealer accounts. At first, I just explained that goal setting is an integral part of my territory plan, but I realized goal setting runs a little deeper for me.

It all started when I was a young mom in my early 20s. I sat down one evening and made a vision board for myself. I pasted pictures of everything I wanted to achieve. I dreamed of some larger goals—a cute blue house, a nice black SUV. Of course, there were also some smaller goals—I wanted new furniture, the kids needed boots, and there was even dish cloths on the board. I had so much fun not only dreaming, but setting goals for myself. I moved a few months later, misplaced my vision board, and soon forgot all about it. Many years went by and one day while cleaning out a storage space, I found my vision board. I looked at the board closely almost stunned. There it was—my blue house, my black SUV. I had replaced my dish cloths a few times by that point, there it was my life. It was at that precise moment I discovered the power of goal setting.

Goal setting must be an integral part of your strategy if you are going to achieve great results

As an account manager, I took the time to plan for my success. I didn’t wait for the clouds to clear and the warm rays of accomplishment to beam down on me. I learned at a very young age the power of goal setting and how it could affect my life.

In grade 2, I entered a private school where goal planning was part of the curriculum. I was mandated to set out yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily goals. We had a strict set of rules for how much school work was mandatory, but for those that wanted to accomplish more, we could set goals to complete our courses early.

Math was my least favorite subject, so my goals in that area were usually set at the minimum amount required. I loved social studies, so I would get excited and make lofty goals for myself in that area. In doing so, I set myself up for success. Not only did I finish my courses early, but I received high grades. These powerful lessons learned at a young age set me up with the tools I needed to be able to set much loftier goals later in life.

Do you regularly set goals for yourself?

One of the keys to effective goal setting is finding something that gets you fired up. Making the goal fun and with a large personal payoff will be a predictor of success.

For example, maybe you want to increase your income for 2018. SMART is an acronym used in goal setting that can help you achieve this goal.

S stands for specific. Is your goal very specific? Putting a dollar figure to your goal is more descriptive than “lots” of money. Is your goal $50,000, $100,000 or $200,000? Whatever the number is, name it. Naming it gives the goal an objective.

M stands for measurable. How can you measure your goal? If your goal is simply “lots,” it’s hard to measure, but if its $75,000 or $100,000, then it’s measurable. You either make it or you don’t.

A stands for achievable. Can you achieve it? Is the goal realistic?

In running, I set goals for myself. My current goal is that I want to complete a 10K in 1 hour or less. This is specific, measurable, and achievable, but if I said, “I want to run a 10K in 30 min,” when I regularly run it in 1 hour 15 min, it would not be realistic at this point and I would be setting myself up for major disappointment.

If your goal is to make $100,000 in 2018 and you currently earn $75,000, this would be achievable. But if you said $250,000, it would not be completely realistic at this moment in time. Of course, you could get there, but that might be a goal that comes later after you achieve a more realistic goal of $100,000 in year one.

In running, we don’t bump up more than 10% at a time. In goal setting, you should plan similarly. Hit your first target and once you hit that, aim realistically higher the next time.

T stands for timeframe. What is the timeframe for you goal? If the timeframe is 2018, that is a specific timeframe. If you said, “I eventually want to earn $250,000 a year,” that does not include a timeframe. It has no beginning and no end. Make a very specific timeframe for yourself.

Once you have established a goal, it’s time to break it down into monthly and daily plans. Think bite-sized pieces. If I want to make $100,000 in 2018, how much is that monthly? Weekly? Break it down. The more you plan, the easier it will be to attain your goals.

I have used goal setting in many aspects of my life from playing the piano to running to my career.

I am so passionate about goal setting you will find my goals listed on my fridge at any given time with a clear action plan laid out.

When I decided that I wanted to run my first marathon, I made a goal setting plan.

I established a goal that I wanted to compete a marathon in the next 6 months. This goal was measurable. I would either cross the finish line or I would not. It was definitive I determined the goal was achievable as I had already completed a couple of half marathons. The goal was realistic because this distance would challenge me for sure, but was feasible so long as I established a plan and stuck to it. The timeframe for my training was 6 months. I found a plan for completing your first marathon by Hal Higdon. Once I had established the goal and found a plan that matched my objective, all that was left was to train using my plan and I went on to run my first marathon. The goal setting strategy worked so well that only 1 year later I ran a second marathon 15 min faster than that first one. Once again, goal setting proved to be a powerful tool in many areas of my life.

Your goals in business should be ones that get you excited. If the goal does not give you a sense of enthusiasm, it will become a drag and the process of hitting the goal will become a burden. If the goal gets you fired up, your chances of success dramatically improve.

What are your sales goals? Have your written them down and laid out a clear plan? If you have not, I strongly urge you to start goal setting. I promise it will change your life. It’s one of the most important tools you will carry with you. Ask any successful business owner about his or her goals and the will definitely have them and most likely very willing to share them. Ask an athlete about his or her goal and see what happens.

Goal setting is one of the most powerful routines you can establish in your career and it is a strategy utilized regularly by top producers in any industry.

 

 

Businessman running to success.

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