Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Setting Sales Goals

Originally published: 11.01.07 by Tom Piscitelli

Not having a goal is like being a cork in the water that will end up where the wind and tide take it.

Many of us resist setting goals because of the feeling of failure when we don’t achieve them. However, goal setting is a highly effective behavior that will virtually guarantee the desired results are achieved. What are realistic sales goals? Is simply setting a goal enough? Who should be accountable for keeping track of progress? What should happen if the goal is met, exceeded, or not met?

Goal-Setting to Create Business Success

Setting goals, and working toward them, helps us accomplish what we want. It’s easy to spend our business life in a reactive mode — putting out the endless fires that flare up — without ever taking the time to think about where we want the business to be in five, 10 or 20 years and what we need to do to get there.

There is something that happens when we decide on and, in particular, write down a goal. The writing down part of the goal-setting process commits us. Studies have shown that the written goal not only keeps the goal in our consciousness, but in our unconscious as

well. Our decisions are more likely to align themselves with what we want to accomplish.

To illustrate, Harvard and Yale Universities tracked the results of goal-setting. They surveyed people at graduation and found that 3% of the graduates had written goals and strategies for achieving them; 10% had goals in mind, but no written strategies; 60% had wishes and dreams; 27% didn’t have a clue. Twenty years later, the surviving members of the classes demonstrated the awesome power of written goals: the 3% who had written goals were worth more than the other 97% combined. 

Being accountable to yourself for creating your future isn’t a new thought. The idea “you create what you think about” can be traced back to ancient times and found in literature throughout history. Napoleon Hill’s classic book, “Think and Grow Rich,” written in 1937, revealed the power of goal-setting that the leaders of the most successful businesses had practiced. Among the many messages is the famous quote, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Additionally, setting meaningful company goals can be very motivating. With each achievement, team members become increasingly confident and optimistic about the future. And it’s fun!

Characteristics of Good Goals

  • Goals must be measurable. “Sell more” sounds good but it’s not nearly as good as “Sell 10.” 
  • Goals must be timed. “Sell 10” isn’t as good as “Sell 10 in 30 days.” 
  • Goals must be written. You are not committed if you aren’t willing to write it down. 

Strategies: How Will You Reach The Goal?

Now that you realize the importance and power of goal-setting, the next step is to consider how you intend to get there. A strategy is a written statement of “how” without the step-by-step details (that’s called a plan, which we’ll get to next).

For example, if the goal is “Sell 10 in 30 days,” then the strategy might be: “Door-to-door canvass the Brook Trails community to generate enough leads to make the sales goal.” Or, “Send a personal letter to past customers asking them for referrals.”

Plans: The Step-By-Step Roadmap

Now it’s time to write out the specifics that support the strategy. This doesn’t have to be a 30-page book. In fact, the goal, strategy and plan should fit on a single page.

Let’s consider the “Canvassing Brook Trails” strategy. The plan might be:

Confirm that canvassing is allowed by contacting the King County Business Office. Get a permit if required. 

Get a referral from Rich on which canvassing company to use. 

Hire and train one professional canvasser. 

Set daily goals for homes contacted and leads generated. (Initial short-term goal: four leads per canvasser per day.) 

Track the results. 

Follow up on all leads with a phone call the same night and make the sales presentation within 24 hours or as soon as the customer is available. 

Stay on Track

Rare is the plan that works exactly as planned. No one can predict the inevitable surprises that occur on any journey. In anticipation of this, it is critical to continuously monitor results, compare them to the plan and make appropriate adjustments. While this sounds simple, if monitoring and adjustments are not consistently done then frustration and failure are the inevitable results.

Fear of Goal-Setting

Many will say that they do not set goals because they have a fear of failure. Our cultural conditioning around “win/lose” thinking is a likely contributor to this by creating the self-judgment that we are a “loser” if we don’t hit the numbers. Win/lose thinking is an obstacle to creating more success. To address this, think of the goal as a target we are aiming for. Hitting the target isn’t as important as having a destination point and a roadmap to follow. The target gives us purpose and focus, and we will be more effective by having both.

Goals, Strategies and Plans for the Sales Person Next month I will discuss reviewing results with the sales person, providing constructive feedback and keeping the sales person on track. For now, see the example of an evaluation in the HVACR Business download center www.hvacrbusiness.com/downloadcenter that would be appropriate for a full-time hvac in-home sales person.

Tom Piscitelli is president of T.R.U.S.T.® Training and Consulting. For more information on how his System Selling In-Home Sales Call Training DVD, CD and Self-Study Workbook can help you sell more jobs at higher margins and higher prices go to www.sellingtrust.com

Articles by Tom Piscitelli

Stop Bidding, Estimating, And Quoting

The most successful and most profitable hvac contractors don’t create success by being the lowest-priced job. They are among the highest; but they can show the customer why the extra money is worth the investment.
View article.

Creating Clients For Life

Customers who are not treated well at every turn become history; customers who value how they were treated and what they received for their money are your future clients, and represent your future income and success.
View article.

The First Sale Is The Appointment

As a service provider, setting the appointment is the first step in convincing the potential customer that you are the right choice. Get them to contact you with a customer-friendly, informational website. Make sure you have a friendly and informed receptionist to take calls and make appointments.
View article.

Creating Customer Trust

People want to buy from someone they trust. You can be the most knowledgeable hvacr person there is but if the customer doesn’t trust you they won’t buy from you.
View article.

Overcome, Conquer Sales Stereotypes

Find out how the customer thinks and feels about the buying process, about the problems they have, about the company who does the work…and then help them get what they want in a way that makes sense to them.
View article.