In many ways, professional selling is a game. And every game requires a way to keep score. It’s hard to imagine what a contest in any sport would look like without one. The same goes for sales. Usually, your employer will have goals for both the organization and for you. But the goals that really matter are the ones that you set for yourself. Those are the ones that will really help you to grow and prosper regardless of other circumstances.
Here are six tips to help with that critical personal objective:
- Don’t set goals just for the sake of setting goals. If it’s nothing more than an obligatory “exercise”, don’t waste your time. Effective goal setting takes time and commitment, and most importantly, honesty. Taking a hard look in the mirror and being willing to work on specific skill sets shouldn’t be taken lightly. “Cursory” goal setting won’t accomplish much, and may even prevent you from needed personal growth!
- Get input from others before finalizing your goals. Gathering the opinions and assessments from trusted colleagues and friends will give you a more global picture of where you stand. We tend to be either too positive or too negative about ourselves—having the perspectives of a select few will help balance out the picture. Encourage those that you approach to be as candid and open as possible—tell them you want the truth, not just what you want to hear. Synthesize as much of that feedback into your goal setting process as possible.
- Personal goals need to be in sync with your organization’s goals. It’s unrealistic to embrace goals that run counter to your company’s respective philosophy and priorities. Being at odds with your employer about what needs to be addressed here will only lead to confusion and conflict. Your managers should be more than happy to offer you guidance if you ask for it. Better that you approach them about goal setting than vice versa!
- Great goals are a “stretch” that require personal growth in the process. It’s simply “no pain, no gain.” Goals that require little or no real effort are a waste of time. Push yourself at least slightly beyond a “comfortable” range. Don’t go too far with something that’s just unrealistic—that’s a non-starter also. The sense of satisfaction when you achieve something that was just beyond your reach is very satisfying and lasting. Making stretch goals on a consistent basis will only encourage you to do more of the same!
- Every goal needs its own action plan. Mapping out the route to the goal is as important as the goal itself. Anticipate as best you can “what will it take” to get you there. If the basic necessities are not available, then it might be time to reconsider setting that particular goal. Careful mapping to the goal will also improve your level of confidence that you can actually do it. This process helps to make the goal much more tangible and therefore “real”. It’s also the first and biggest hurdle to getting there!
- Once you commit to a goal, stick with it. Giving up on a goal is a serious downer. That surrender will attack your own sense of self-worth as a performer. It also negates all of the effort that you put into setting up the goal in the first place. Like it or not, giving up on a goal is nothing more than quitting. “Quitters never win and winners never quit” is more than just a cliché—it’s true! Giving up on a goal that you were committed to may be easy, but in the long run, it’s a real detriment to your development as a top-flight sales professional. Don’t even entertain the word “surrender”!
About the Author
Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com