You’ve thought it out, gotten motivated and set a lofty goal for your sales and performance this year – so you are all set, right? Not so fast; setting the goals is just the beginning. Careful planning now can help you beat the odds when it comes to your sales goals and ensure you have the successful year you are planning for.
Setting the right goals for the New Year is a great start. In a recent post, we covered the best way to set obtainable goals that are SMARTER – using a specific format designed to ensure your goals are measurable and attainable. Whether you use this system or take a different approach, the things you do in the first quarter will have a big impact on your outcome at the end of the year.
How can you make sure that you’ll be able to reach the goals you’ve set? Laying the groundwork right now, at the beginning of the year and revisiting your goals regularly will make sure you stay on track.
The concept of attending to tasks early to benefit later is familiar in other aspects of life. You do it every day without even realizing it. You drop off your dry cleaning today so you’ll have fresh shirts tomorrow and place dinner in the crockpot before leaving for work – so you come home to a fully cooked meal.
Approaching your sales goals in the same way helps ensure you actually reach them – the work done today, just like that chicken or roast, will pay off for you later in the form of a fully cooked meal. What can you do in the first quarter to prepare for the payoff at the end of the year? These tips and ideas will help you get started:
7 Things to do Right Now for a Successful 4th Quarter
Write Down Your Goals
If you haven’t already done so, put your goals in writing. Not only does writing things down ensure you have a firm handle on exactly what it is you wish to accomplish, but you’re also more likely to follow through when you take the time to write down your goals.
Break Things Down
Looking at the year as a whole is overwhelming – and so is looking at that year-end sales figure. Break the goal into smaller, more accessible amounts and you’ll find that insurmountable number won’t seem so far off.
There are a variety of ways to break your goals into smaller, more achievable bites. Dividing the main, yearly goal by 12 (for the 12 months of the year) gives you an idea of how many calls you need to make each month in order to close the deals you need to get to your magic number. Then break the month down into the lowest common denominator for the week, and what you need to do each day to hit those incremental goals.
Now you know immediately if you’re not making those calls, touchpoints and visits, you can’t be surprised at the end of the year. Writing a goal in January and then revisiting it as the end of the year creeps closer will only stress you out. Checking your progress regularly ensures you stay on track and that you are more likely to accomplish what you set out to do.
Set up a Standing Meeting
Looking for a great way to stay on track? Ask your manager or team leader for a weekly or monthly feedback meeting to go over your progress. This appointment will help keep you on track and hold you accountable – and also allow you to get the tools you need to succeed. If you find something is holding you back from achieving your goal, whether it is assistance, training or additional support, you can ask for it in a timely manner.
Feedback from Others
Your manager has some insight into your performance and abilities, but your colleagues may have additional information you can draw on. Asking for assistance and tips can help build your relationship and reveal some key ways you can boost your sales figures to meet your goals.
Add One Goal Item Daily
What one thing will take you closer to your year-end sales goal? Is it making additional cold calls, touching base with clients more frequently or revisiting existing clients you haven’t seen in a while? Adding even one item that is purely designed to get you closer to your goal each day will not only get you closer every week, but it will keep that goal at the forefront of your mind.
The “thing” you add doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult – in fact, it shouldn’t be. Shoot for an item that will take under 10 minutes to complete – one handwritten thank you, one call to a fresh prospect or one packet of new product information out to an existing client you have not heard from in a while. These little moments will pay off over time, improving your performance and getting you closer to your goals.
Build Your Network
Every good salesperson has a network in place, but if you have not focused on building yours in a while, it’s time to get reconnected. Expanding the number of people you connect with and who can potentially recommend you to others provides you with more possible invitations and connections and makes it easier to approach new prospects. Pure network building may not produce immediate sales, but you will enjoy the benefits of an ever-growing network as the year progresses.
Check Your Performance Quarterly
At the end of each quarter, review your goals against your activities and progress. If you find that you are falling short, you have time to make adjustments and still reach your target figure. Knowing exactly where you are allows you to work with real figures, not a vague feeling that you are falling behind or an intuition that you are killing it in 2017.
No matter what you find out, comparing your year-end goal with your quarter-end progress should give you some insight into what you need to do next. You’ll also have a good idea if the methods you’ve tried each week are actually working or if you need to take another approach.
Setting attainable, measurable goals in the first place is just the beginning. By breaking your goals down into actionable steps and checking in regularly, you can be sure that you will be happy with your results by the time the end of the year rolls around.
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