Here’s a question that will probably make you wince. What are your company sales goals? Are you meeting them? Are they realistic? If you’re not cheering enthusiastically, time to keep reading.
Regardless of whether your company is big or small, every company’s sales process has one thing in common (or should have): goals. Businesses set annual sales targets to motivate and incentivize their salespeople to increase product sales. But you may be surprised to learn that many small business owners and sales managers don’t create effective sales goals. Therefore, the company’s sales results often fall short of the true potential of the company’s sales force.
So how do you set effective sales goals?
Sales Goals vs. Good Ideas
First, according to Jack Canfield in his book The Success Principles, you need to learn the distinction between a goal and a good idea. For example, let’s say your company is launching a new product. As part of your goal-setting process, you write down you want to prepare a sales presentation.
However, just deciding you want to create a presentation isn’t really a goal. It’s just a good idea – something you want to do. To turn that idea into an actual goal, it must be measurable by determining two criteria: how much (i.e., how long will the presentation be, such as the number of slides or the time length) and by when (i.e., a specific date and time it will be completed).
To take a good idea—such as preparing a sales presentation—and turn it into an actual goal, you might write:
I will create a 45-minute, PowerPoint sales presentation geared toward the health care industry that outlines specific needs physicians and nurses may have that our products can meet. This presentation will be finalized by 5 p.m., Friday, June 29.
It is key to be as specific as possible when defining your goals. Visualize every single detail – the size, weight, color, location, physical form, number of items, people who will help you accomplish your goal, etc. Then write these details down.
Also, make sure you write down how you’re going to achieve your goal. That is: what are the specific how-to steps or tasks you must complete in order to accomplish this goal? Be sure to set a specific by when date and time to each of these steps, too. These task-specific deadlines will help keep you on track to meet your ultimate end date.
You may wonder: Why do I need to write out my goals with such specific details and action steps? When you create clear, detailed goals, you engage your subconscious mind in the process. Your subconscious mind will know exactly what it needs to work on to help you reach your goal.
Or as Jack Canfield says: “Vague goals produce vague results.”
Next: Go After What You Want
As you create your goals, be sure to include some big, hairy, audacious ones, too. Why? It’s a good idea to pursue goals that cause you to stretch and grow, because you’ll gain new skills, expand your mind, overcome your fears and build new relationships during the process.
As motivational philosopher Jim Rohn advises:
“You should set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.”
Look at the people you admire: in business, sports, in history, and more. Haven’t almost all of them been people who set goals, and then set out to achieve them? When it comes to sales in your small business, you must do the same. Write down your goals in great detail. Include the how much numbers and the by when dates. And then, put the steps into action to make them a success!
Make it happen! You have the greatest power to develop and realize your own potential.