I never cease to be amazed at what a salesperson can achieve when they have a goal.  

So often, all they are out to do is their best. After all, if your income is dependent upon your performance, wouldn’t you want to do your best?  The simple principle of goal setting is the underlining cause for all success and improvement in the world. It is simple, yet profound, in its universal influence on the world.  Without the goal, the status quo seems to be quite satisfactory. With the goal, the status quo becomes a steppingstone for more. More of what you might ask? More volume, quality, performance, features, etc., it doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that the goal drives you to reach beyond what has been acceptable and leads you to discover a new level of performance.

Here is one of my favorite quotes that relates to goals and the power of reaching beyond what is acceptable.  

Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”  – Cherie Carter-Scott 

The power of visualizing something that is impossible and then finding a way to make it possible, is goal setting in its purest form.  Very often as I work with salespeople, we will review their prior performance to give us an indication of what they are capable of achieving.  We will look at the performance of their peers and others who are selling the same or similar products. We will create a believable and accurate picture of reality and then determine a goal or target for future performance.  Through understanding what they have done in the past and what others have accomplished, their belief begins to increase. They begin to see things as possible, that only moments before, seemed impossible.

There is a huge psychological difference between striving to do your best and focusing your efforts on reaching a specific goal.  In the first case, you are working hard at doing the most or the best you can. In the second case, you are doing all you can in terms of effort and activity to reach a very specific target.  In the first situation, you could just be going in circles, while in the second, you are making specific progress towards a defined target. Progress is only achieved through goal setting. Success in any endeavor is accomplished through the successive steps taken from where you are to where you want to be.  By knowing what you want, you can then determine the specific steps necessary to achieve that dream.

As a young high school student, I had a dream of walking on the Great Wall of China.  This dream became a lifelong goal. I mentioned it to my wife when we were dating in college.  I reminded her about this goal throughout the raising of our small children. I talked about it throughout the years, always in the tone of “some day.”  Finally, she had heard enough and told me that instead of saying “some day”, that I should just do it. For years I had the dream and for years nothing came of it.  After that rather frank chastising from my wife, I set a time period for accomplishing the goal, contacted the travel agent and booked the trip. Several months later, I was walking on the Great Wall of China with my wife.  Here are the lessons learned:

  1. Dreams are just dreams until you make them a goal.
  2. Goals are worthless until you give them a time frame.
  3. Goals are just dreams until you take action.
  4. When you focus on the goal and take specific action, the results are often greater, and happen sooner, than you thought possible.
  5. Don’t procrastinate.  The sooner you set goals and take action, the more success and happiness you will enjoy in your life.

Your level of sales success will be in direct proportion to the goals you set and the activities you engage in to achieve your goals.  Motion will never equate to progress, and activity without a goal will never bring you the success you are capable of achieving.