If human beings didn’t set goals, we’d all be wandering around with nothing to do but maybe grab some berries from the ground after they’ve dropped off a tree we didn’t plan to pick them from. We would not have caves to sleep in. We’d be running around in our birthday suit because we would not have come up with the goal of covering ourselves, or a strategy for donning animal skins. In other words, without goals, we would not have the basics: food, clothing and shelter.
Beyond the things we need, without goals we’d never get what we want in life, like reaching our target weight, moving to the big house on the hill, contributing monthly toward our retirement fund, etc., etc.
Something to Shoot For
Setting goals and sticking to them increases our productivity and makes it easier for us to measure, interpret and share our progress. And benchmarking that progress motivates us to keep working toward our goals, rather than giving up on them prematurely.
In sales, setting goals is crucially important, not just as it regards to commissions, salary and bonuses, but because goal setting can act as a game changer when it comes to our work and career.
When you come up with goals, what you’re actually doing is putting structure in place; creating something to work toward. This allows you to focus your energy and smarts on what matters most: which prospects you want to concentrate on, and what actions you’ll need to undertake to convert them to customers. Bonus: Setting goals motivates you not to procrastinate.
Goal setting lays the foundation for consistent action: You identify which activities and behaviors help you advance the sales process and close deals. You develop a sense for what works and what fails to work, and this results in an increased skill level. From there, you can integrate your new professional talents—gained from goal setting—into your work routine.
Your Inner Strategist
Did you know that when you set goals you’re being strategic? All strategists are goal setters: They research existing best practices, develop their own, aren’t afraid to fail, and eventually succeed because—you got it—they had set goals and then followed through with them. Being a strategic goal setter means breaking large, complex tasks into smaller, more achievable segments and then carrying them out. Eventually all those segments make up a whole and—“wallah”—you’ve hit your targets.
Setting goals is also a way to own your successes and hold yourself accountable for your failures. It can be instructive and humbling to take stock of the goals you didn’t reach. Don’t think of these setbacks as failures; they’re actually learning opportunities—the process of getting to know and refine what works. You may even surpass your goals, and that can also be humbling. “Wow! Not only did I do it, I went beyond it.” Reach, surpass or miss your goals, you’re still focusing on the process, and that’s growing your skills and helping your self-assessment.
Lastly, goal setting is a great motivator. What naturally emerges from the act of it is a feeling of satisfaction. We’re striving toward outcomes, setting our own destiny. What’s more satisfying than that? A well-plotted goal is a mountaintop you’re climbing toward on a daily basis. When the peak becomes visible through the clouds, your enthusiasm will carry you more happily to the top.