As a new year begins, many people are setting goals for themselves, either personal or professional. Setting good professional goals makes us push ourselves to learn more and improve our sales and business skills. By now, most of you will know how much you sold in 2009, and you would probably like to sell even more in 2010.
There are many ways to set effective goals, but my personal favorite is to follow the SMART method. SMART stands for:
Commit to a very specific goal. “Increasing Sales” is not a specific goal. “Increasing sales by $400,000 over the next 12 months by opening 5 new accounts and increasing sales in each of my existing accounts by 10%” is a specific goal.
The goals that you set for yourself must be quantitative, not qualitative. “Improving my relationship with Dr. Smith” is not a measurable goal. “Taking Dr. Smith out for lunch four times over the next 12 months” is a measurable goal.
If your 2009 sales were $750,000, it is highly unlikely that you are going to top $2,000,000 next year. Before setting your goal, you will need to evaluate your performance and your territory and set a goal that you think is reasonable. I suggest adding an extra 10% onto whatever number you come up with to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
A goal without a reward is just no fun. If your goal is to increase your sales, then the rewards will likely be financial. However, you could also use the financial rewards to treat yourself. For example, you could buy a new car, or take a trip to Bermuda when you meet your goal.
Set a deadline for when you want to achieve the goal, and then break that time period down into shorter segments.
Break Your Big Goal into Smaller Goals
Finally, break your major goal down into smaller segments. Above, I listed the goal of “Increasing sales by $400,000 over the next 12 months by opening 5 new accounts and increasing sales in each of my existing accounts by 10%.”
Set new goals for yourself to help you achieve those results:
“I will open 5 new accounts over the next 12 months by doing one extra cold call per day, sponsoring a dental society event, and holding a dental golf tournament in September.”
“I will increase sales in each of my existing accounts by 10% by raising my prices, improving my sales skills, and making myself a more valuable member of my clients’ teams. I will improve my sales skills and product knowledge by taking two sales training courses and attending 5 dental shows in the next 12 months.”
Continue to break your goals down into very specific and measurable steps. When you have done that, you will have created a ladder of steps that you can follow in order to achieve the major goal that you initially laid out. I know that if I take two sales training courses, my sales skills will improve. Improving my sales skills will help me increase my business in each of my accounts. Increasing my business in each of my accounts will help me to sell an extra $400,000 this year, and if I do that I will reward myself by earning more money and buying a new snowmobile.
It is important for every sales person to realize that our sales results are not random, and that whatever our results are, we are taking actions that lead us to those results. People that sell more than you are not simply luckier. They may have advantages, but they are either working harder or working smarter than you are. In all likelihood, they have laid out clearer goals than you have, and are working deliberately to achieve those goals.
Set those goals, and may 2010 be your best year ever!