I have read numerous times that you are more likely to acheive your goals if you write them down. With the New Year fast approaching, and my guilty conscious nagging at me to get back on the “Blog Bandwagon”, I thought this would be a good topic to discuss.
When I was a sales manager for a local VAR, I always took time with my new hires to discuss the importance of having goals, writing them down and monitoring their success. I have proven to myself, time and time again that this strategy is hugely successful. I use a methodology called S.M.A.R.T. goals, which means that they are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Sensitive.
Back in my early days of selling, I wasn’t so convinced that I was a “goal-oriented” person. But, I figured that I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. So I started with a little yellow “Post-It Note” and wrote down a few simple goals and a couple of tough ones that I was totally convinced would never happen. I was coached to hang this note in my cube where I would see it everyday. And for about two months, I did look at it everyday. But eventually I became distracted with other important matters and it was no longer top of mind. Then one day I glanced up and saw that little yellow note calling out to me. I wonder, I thought to myself, if I’d accomplished much of anything. Much to my surprise, I was able to check off everything my list with the exception of the “will never happen” goals. This was amazing to me and it sort of felt like magic. So I scrapped the “Post-It” and came up with a really nice document with the SMART goals acronym and wrote some new ideas down; and I even included the “never gonna happen” goals. Well as you can probably already guess, once again I was able to check off everything on that piece of paper, including a pretty significant increase in my sales & income. Evenutally, I even nailed the ones I wasn’t too sure about. I couldn’t believe how great this worked…literally, so I began telling myself that this was all just a fluke and I wasn’t really this superstar sales person, I had just gotten lucky. I became my own self-fulfilling prophecy. My income dropped by $20k that year; a tough, but important lesson to learn. Right about that time the account structure was being realigned and I was promoted into a new role, called Named Account Executive. My account base dropped from 18 zip codes and almost unlimited new account potential to a list of 100 Named Accounts. I thought for sure my days were numbered. However, my new manager assured me that this was an incredible plan and that my income would most likely double. I liked the sounds of that and decided to put all my energy towards turning things around. Not to mention, the Circle of Excellence trip was just announced and it was a trip to Hawaii. I was determined to be there in November. I started a new goal sheet, called a girlfriend and asked if she was interested in joining me on an all-expense paid trip to Oahu. As the year started progressing and I looked at the income goal I had set for myself, I realized that I could make that number whatever I wanted and I would acheive it. So I decided to take my income that year from $40k to $150k. And I did it! I also went to Hawaii and had one of the most incredible vacations ever.
My advice to anyone in this fun and exciting business of sales, is to start small, think of some things that you really want to achieve. Write them down and put them somewhere that you will see them everyday. Maybe it’s an income goal, maybe it’s an increase in business or revenue. A new car, or a new account. Whatever it is, write it down. Then believe in your ability to make it happen. And when you do, start a new list and write down as many things as you can think of. You may find that eventually you are no longer even looking at your list, but your subconscious mind has actually taken over and will help to get you to your goals.
It’s really powerful stuff and what a great feeling to continually achieve your goals. I have talked to many partners this year who are feeling very optimistic about FY10 – they have committed to 20% growth this year. They have written it down and they will make it happen. What will you accomplish this year?
I look forward to hearing from you!
Quote: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”