Driving along listening to the radio in sunny Cape Town Monday, I stumbled across a local fella talking about why New Year Resolutions fail. I almost switched away within just a few seconds though. I’ve never been a fan of that all-too-American self-help evangelicism, and when the first meaningful quote was “goals without deadlines are simply dreams” I thought o-oh, here we go….
Still, the clear blue sky softened me so I persevered. Almost immediately he went on to talk about how proper goal setting could help salespeople. I’ve come across some of this stuff before, but I thought in just a couple of minutes he summarised the whole game pretty well. Just as well, ‘cos anymore and I’d probably have started smashing the radio. Anyhow, with relation to us reps, here’s his chat:
Be “smart” – Most goals fail because they are not specific enough. He (of course) suggests this acronym to avoid such pitfalls. Make sure your goals are each of; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, (and are) Recorded, (with a) Timeframe.
His 4 Questions – Another angle on effective goal setting, ask yourself What (specifically is your goal, then establish) Why (are you trying to achieve it,) How (you’ll set about it including sub-goals, and finally by) When (will it be done).
The Nonogens – He also gave an interesting tale about a group of Ninety year-olds who, when asked about their lives, said that the two things they’d have changed were to have taken more risks, and been more reflective.
Goal Buddy – He was big on “social accountability”. This is where you and (at least) another person write down weekly goals. You must them speak once a week and ask each other how they got on. When accomplished, celebrate, when remaining unreached, work out what you’ve learned and will change. This is particularly relevant to salesforces I think. I’ve never encountered a team where this has been going on. Sure, any participants may deliberately keep it on the quiet and yes, some sales managers may think they’ve a similar system in place, but I think done properly, this is a winner.
Imagine you can find a relative peer. Maybe not from absolutely the same discipline, or even continent, but someone focused on pretty similar things to you. How would it help you to get and give emails committing to how many cold calls you’ll make over the coming five working days? Or how much margin you’ll build in to each proposal? Or how many references you’re going to ask for? Or that you’ll definitely read three chapters of that buzz book everyone in your industry seems to be going on about? The possibilities are endless.