Lisa Rose at the Brooks Group blog has a good post called 7 Characteristics of the Most Successful Salespeople. It’s a good list, but something struck me about it. The list is basically a set of goals in and of itself, microgoals one can work toward to achieve the eventual goal of more sales.
But what I’ve read about goals, and which strikes me as incredibly insightful, is that good goals are process-oriented, not results-oriented. Sure, your end goal is to get more sales. That’s a result. But your microgoal should be implementing a process, such as making 20 sales calls per day. Results-focused goals can be demoralizing and paralyzing. How do I get more sales? What should I do? Why isn’t it working? On the other hand, how to achieve a good process-oriented microgoal is crystal clear, and is something you have tons of control over.
Some of supporting characteristics of the 7 Characteristics of the Most Successful Salespeople, such as “Maintaining focus on goals,” and “Identifying and acting on removing potential obstacles to successful goal attainment,” are so-called process-oriented goals. But many of them are results goals, such as “Effectively impact prospects’ and customers’ actions,” well, yeah, if I could do that consistently and well, I wouldn’t need to read online sales listicles, now would I?
“When you are focused on the outcome and you attach your worth to the outcome, you will find yourself very resistant to trying new things and putting forth your best effort,” wrote
Margaret Paul, Ph.D., bestselling author and relationship expert, for Huffington Post. “When you define your worth by your performance rather than your effort, you stop yourself dead at the starting gate.”
I think it’s a good lens through which to evaluate where to put your focus. Naturally, we’re going to want to focus on results. It’s how other people evaluate us. It’s where the ultimate value is. But while we’re breaking down how to get to good results, we must focus on processes, individual actions on our part, not the part of others, which will incrementally get us to where we want to go.
I didn’t see a ‘guest post’ introduction… so can I assume “kickasswebdesign” is you?
Regardless… as a ‘seasoned’ (some might acerbically say ‘ancient’) but in any & all cases *SURVIVOR* veteran of the game of sales… including its perpetual chess game of internal psychology… may I offer some perspective?
There is “goal setting” for show… that’s the stuff an employee salesperson does to make their superiors happy (or at least to get them to stop riding the salesperson’s ass.) The superiors (if they’re being honest with themselves) also know that these show-goals are not honest, nor from the salesperson’s driven personal desires… and the superiors usually mandate that these goas/action-plans be generated and ‘signed-off’ by the salesperson so that the boss has some obligatory persuasion… a ‘bully stick’ to try to use to organize and ‘motivate’ the sales peeps. (There is an ancient saying about salespeople, subsequently applied to many other independent types, about how organizing, motivating and coordinating us is like trying to herd cats.)
THEN there is valid, legit, no bullshit, *REAL* goal setting… which is really goal *PRIORITIZING*… and then the strategic economics of charting out your own, private, precious, selfish path to acquire/achieve/accomplish the stuff that really matters to you.
I recommend you do both….
I also recommend you keep them separate (at least as long as you must bear the yoke as a subservient,) and hold your personal list and strategies private and confidential. Share that list with *ONLY* the people you are absolutely *CERTAIN* have the interest and incentive
of helping you get what you actually want (and that is 99% of the time *NOT* your sales boss, regardless what they might say otherwise.)
FOR BETTER PRIVATE GOAL SETTING AND ACHIEVEMENT….
Do it as though your were/are 100% entirely self-employed.
“Begin with the end in mind” as Stephen Covey always said.
Imagine walking forward on a timeline 5 years into the future (no further… and no sooner, for the moment.) Standing (in your mind) at September, 2019… what is your desired
life like? It does *NOT* have to be a list of stuff/possessions, nor a list of positions, or accountable achievements (though those are good too.) It can also be prevalent experiences, sentiments, states of mind, etc. whatever. MOST IMPORTANTLY; The ‘goals’ need to be written down *IN FULL AWARENESS* that they may NOT be intentionally achievable… some of them might indeed be something you can create, or earn… others might be ‘wishes’ or ‘prayers’ that you see no actually way to mechanically achieve (like winning the lottery, or having a 4 leaf clover randomly grow in your kitchen flower pot.) But they *DO* need to be *HONEST* (which, again, is why they are to be written down in the full private promise of protecting them from the eyes of all who may judge or critique them… defend your inner dreamer’s right to dream, unmolested.)
(I’ll toss out some things… completely out of my ear… toss them out & start your own… but for example;)
1. Healthy, with no more than x% body fat (whatever is the balance *YOU* want,) and
cardio endurance to run a 10k fun run (or go skiing 3 10 hour days without collapsing, or whatever means “I am a fucking awesome physical specimen” to you,)
2. Be deeply involved (engaged? Married? Living in blissful sin? Whatever) in a mutually committed intimate relationship with the man (or woman, or whatever) who clearly faces the same values, purposes, and outcomes I do, and who wants the same family outcomes on similar timelines that I do,
3. Blow James (or whomever at the time) away with an all-expenses covered kidnapping to
the Bahamas (or wherever) for a week,
4. Have ½ year of my total costs of living stuffed away in cash/checking/CDs as my
‘private welfare’ safety net/parachute,
5. Be diving deeper into an occupation that pays me way more than my expenses, consumes my passive attentions, and makes me excited to get up early when everyone else is bitching and moaning,
6. Own (debt-free) a vehicle that makes me feel great to drive (whatever that is… elite, functional, soccer-Mom, whatever.)
7. Own my own real estate/starter-home (titled in my own name) in a neighborhood that
gives me peace, safety, and tranquility,
8. Getting in 6 great mountain hikes during hiking season,
9. Spending a solid week of quality payback/connect solo time with each parent (or pseudo-parent, or way-back mentor, or etc.)
10. Raising a Labrador puppy in my spacious yard (or golden, or mastiff, or poodle, or dropkick, whatever,)
Get the idea? The first (*AND MOST CRITICAL*) steps are the answers to WHY… not HOW.
THEN……. Some of these things cost money (the vacay, the private welfare, the car, the home, the puppy, etc.…) some of these things cost focused effort (the fitness, the relationship status…) some take BOTH (making the time to do the hikes, and the solo time with the ‘rents, and the lifestyle with a puppy, etc.)
NOW… time to organize/PRIORITIZE those outcomes (yes, even before assigning their ‘costs’… if the most critical thing most dear to your soul costs $20,000, and everything else is only $500 to achieve each… racking up the cheap accomplishments first would only empty your soul.)
On your list (on paper… or excel if you are feeling geeky…)
Read/dwell/meditate/stare… or just blurt out… which is the absolute no-brainer #1 most important TO YOU… write #1 to the left of it.
Then do the same for #2… then #3, etc.
(REMEMBER… YOU’RE NOT SHOWING THIS TO *ANYBODY*… YOUR EYES ONLY!)
NOW… FINALLY…. After re-writing (or sorting in Excel) your list into vertical priority order…..
NOW, on the right side of the page, assign the financial costs for each thing that has a financial cost.
For each non-financial hurdle… write down who you must become (the real “cost”) to achieve and keep that achievement.
*THEN*…. Each dollar figure has an “activity cost” in sales.
*THIS* is what your slave master wants to see so they can whip you with it… ok, fine.
It finally doesn’t matter… because you can achieve what you really want in a buhzillion different ways.
Selling software services is only one way… but you are no longer the slave to THEM, your are *USING THEM* for your OWN purposes (bwaahahahaaa!)
Keep this list HANDY….
You should review (doesn’t have to be more than a cursory glance) often… 2-4 times a week,
You’ll actually find it pretty exciting as you knock items off the list.
2 more notes;
1. You *CAN* do the same exercise for a shorter duration/goal period… 2 years, or even one year (no shorter, or you don’t get sufficient manifestation time… time to let the universe cook in your favor.)
2. KEEP your written processes, if you can. I really encourage you to keep an old-school hard-bound paper written journal with these things (and other private introspections.) You may find that the written outcomes do not always happen on the timeline originally chosen… but pretty magically, they *DO* actually occur… often down to the miniscule silly detail you may have written them down eons prior. It is almost as though you are ‘programming software’ into the universe when you do this properly, as above.
Hope that helps!
Thirty years ago I made a disastrous foray into selling new Oldsmobiles at a highly regarded dealership. One of the sales manager’s favorite maxims was, “Timid salesmen have skinny children.” For his deeper and more useful wisdom from been-there’s, I like Mr. Donhoff’s counsel better than my own.
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