By Michael Darling
I was researching information for an article on goal setting recently, which started after a discussion with one of our newer Admissions reps. Inspiration comes from all sides if you’re open to it and you let it find you. The conversation struck a note and I went home that night with this column in my mind already.
Well, I didn’t realize what I was starting until I started digging a bit. It’s fair to say that there is an overwhelming amount of information and opinion on the internet about goal setting importance, as well as how to do it, when to do it, who to do it too and when you should do it to yourself. Whole websites are devoted to it and you can pay thousands of dollars to a motivational trainer to show you how, when, who and why. My goal here is to save you a little surfing time and a chunk of money.
Suffice to say, operating without some sort of goal in mind is kind of like trying to hit a bull’s eye of a target with your eyes closed. You can spend days, weeks, even years launching your arrows, but continue to miss the target entirely. Eventually, you’re going to burn out. You become so exhausted and frustrated with repeated efforts that don’t give you the results you want, you eventually give up.
The old saying goes, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” We’ve all read that many times over the years, I’m sure. Heaven knows, I have.
But the reason you’ve read it so many times is because it just happens to be good solid sage advice. To get where you want to be, you have to have a clear vision of it in your mind. You need to know what you want before you can pursue it.
The subconscious mind is an amazingly powerful goal-achieving machine, but no matter how powerful it is…it’s unable to lead you to your goal if you don’t provide it with a specific target. That takes focus. If it doesn’t have that clear and specific target, it’s not going to get you there. Not now. Not ever. You’ll continue to wander down the road day after day until you just get tired of walking, lost and hungry.
Well, that’s a pretty dismal picture…isn’t it?
Focus is the practice of being able to center on the “right” tasks at hand, while minimizing distractions that take your focus away from the goal, whatever it is.
It’s like turning on a mental GPS to guide you to your destination. The difference is that you can actually understand your own voice…and it usually responds to you before you’ve already turned the corner and find yourself lost.
Focus on the goal and it will improve your time management, your professional and personal performance, how efficient you are in your task…heck, it’ll even give your life some balance and help your mind find the information it needs to get you to that bull’s eye. You’ll sleep better, your complexion will clear up and you’ll finally be able to play the piano! It’s amazing!
An employee I once had set a goal once that she was terrified to set, because she had never been successful at achieving it before. A little brainstorming on a list of those things we thought were the “right” activities she needed to be doing in order to get to her particular goal, helped her focus on those activities. Once she did that, she actually ended up EXCEEDING her goal.
The same thing can happen to you if you just use your internal GPS and focus on your goals. And, it’ll work inside a building.
A while back, while at a sales practices seminar, the speaker asked, "How many of you have written out your goals?" The results stunned me. Of the 123 salespeople present, only three admitted to writing down their goals. I find that alarming. 3 out of 123!
Proper goal setting and good execution of those goals automatically solves many important problems for anyone, salespeople especially. Once you’ve set goals, it can translates into positive action. Then you automatically become well-organized by doing things in the order of their importance. Finally, people develop better working habits and becomes self-disciplined.
To set and achieve your goals, I'd like to suggest developing a complete goal blueprint of sorts. Since everyone's circumstances are different, use the form here as a guide. This is slightly similar to mine. Take some time right now to build yourself a complete goal outline. Set down your major goal, 10 to 15 sustaining goals, and from five to 15 specific activities you must accomplish to reach each sustaining goal.
I will do an outstanding job for the next calendar year by (for instance) increasing my sales commission or achieving a promotion to (title), so that my total income will be (X). Then, each year thereafter, I will increase my income to (X) over the previous year. This will enable me to purchase (item) by (date), (item) by (date), (item) by (date).
Sustaining Goal #1 if you’re in sales:
To maintain an adequate number of bona fide prospects to keep me busy selling productively all day, every day. Specific activities to do daily, weekly and monthly include:
1. Devote a minimum of four hours per week to productive prospecting.
2. Develop and maintain close contact with productive centers of influence.
3. Get leads from every person I sell to. (very important, but rarely done)
4. Get favorable PR by speaking to one service club, church group or company meeting per month.
5. Prospect at least two hours per day using the telephone.
6. Use the telephone, or use person-to-person contact, to call on five present customers each month and ask each for names of prospects.
Sustaining Goal #2 if you’re in sales:
Make (X) number of face-to-face presentations monthly. Specific activities to do daily, weekly and monthly include:
1. Fill each day with (X) number of productive appointments.
2. Fill each week with (X) number of productive appointments.
3. Be in the field making calls for (X) number of hours daily or weekly.
4. Do necessary paperwork during nonproductive calling hours.
5. Have available a more-than-adequate number of bona fide prospects each day.
6. Each day make alternate calls, to fill in any open time.
7. Make (X) number of face-to-face presentations daily, weekly.
Sustaining Goal #3 if you’re in sales:
Increase the ratio of sales closings. Specific activities to do daily, weekly and monthly include:
1. Analyze each attempt to sell.
2. Read a book on selling (X) number of minutes per day.
3. Listen to CDs or webinars in between calls.
4. Review and study company sales-training methods (X) number of times weekly.
5. Set up a definite self-improvement program.
Sustaining Goal #4 for all professionals
Make the most productive use of my time. Specific activities to do daily, weekly and monthly include:
1. Every evening, plan for the best use of time the next day.
2. Phone to firm up all appointments each day.
3. Visit less and spend more time selling on each interview.
4. Permit no nonproductive time during prime selling hours.
5. Daily, weekly and monthly do things in the order of their importance.
6. Arrange appointments according to their geographical locations.
Sustaining Goal #5 for all professional
Maintain a positive, enthusiastic attitude. Specific activities to do daily, weekly and monthly include:
1. Give myself (X) number of pep talks daily.
2. Read one good book on self-improvement every month.
3. Listen daily to inspirational tapes.
4. Keep my mind on the importance of achieving my goals.
5. Be an example of an enthusiastic person.
6. Review my goals daily.
To complete a goal blueprint like this for yourself requires a lot of concentrated thought and the effort of writing it down. In the same way that making sales calls yield better results when you are prepared - knowing the buyer, knowing the competition and the value of your product - your goal-setting program will prove its worth if you'll give it a chance. Anything that produces real results is worth the effort you put into it, right?
See you on the road to success…..I’ll wave if I see you.
Thanks for reading…