This Month’s Selling Principle:
How to set long term and short term goals
I realize that this is a subject that volumes have been written about. So, much of this should be nothing more than a reminder to many of us. For some of us, it will be a revelation. My hope is that everyone derives some benefit from this. Most of us already know HOW to set goals, don’t we? Sure we do. Okay, by a show of hands now, how many of us have clear, concise, written goals for January? January 2015? OHHH, I see. All of us know HOW to set them but most of us DON’T! So, here’s a couple of reasons why we may need to reevaluate our current goal setting strategies.
How many of us would consider Michael Jordan one of, if not the very best the game of basketball has ever seen? Most everyone reading this, I’m sure. If I were willing to bet you $5000.00 that I could get you to sink more free throws in sixty seconds than Michael Jordan could, would you be willing to take that bet? (No, you wouldn’t have to practice shooting free throws for fourteen hours each day until you were ninety-two!)
Here’s how I’d do it. You, me, and Michael would meet at the Nike campus here in Beaverton, Oregon. On one of their courts, I’d have a rack of basketballs for both you and Michael at each free throw line. I’d whisper a few magic words of encouragement in your left ear. (Something like, “Try not to embarrass us both, okay?”) Then, I’d walk over to Michael, blindfold him, spin him around several times, and I’d make sure he was facing the wrong direction when I stopped spinning him. Then, I’d start the clock, and scream, “Okay you guys, sixty seconds … GO!”
Now do you think you’d be able to outshoot Michael Jordan?! (If you still said, “No!”, maybe you should e-mail me so I can send you some articles on the importance of a positive self image.)
Okay, let me ask you something. If the best in the business (Michael Jordan) can’t hit a target he doesn’t see, how are we gonna hit a target we haven’t even set yet?!
Here’s another reason we may want to get serious about goal setting. In 1953, a study was conducted at Yale University. An intensive interview of the graduating class was performed. They discovered many things — among them was that less than 3% had clear, concise goals with a written plan for their attainment.
Twenty years later, in 1973, they interviewed the surviving members of the Class of 1953, and they found some very interesting things. Roughly 3% were still setting goals for their lives. Of that 3% or so that had previously set goals, over 90% of them considered themselves to be “very happy.” A disproportionate number of them in comparison to non-goal setter had more successful careers, had larger spheres of influence, had more well adjusted children, and had more successful marriages. Now, I know those are subjective, so here is the measurable. The 3% who had specific goals and a written plan for their attainment had a net worth greater than the other 97% of that graduating class … combined!
Life is a magnificent play. We can either be the star or just a bit player, but me — I would rather be the playwright — and that is just what goal setting allows us to do. It enables us to create our life instead of letting life be something that just happens to us.
Goals must be clear and concise, they must be written down, and they must have deadlines. (Now just as an aside, lately I’ve been meeting top performers who, although they can list them out orally without any hesitation, don’t have their goals written down anywhere. So, maybe I need to say that goals SHOULD be written down.)
If it is not clear and concise, written down with an expected date of attainment, then it is not a goal, it is just a wish. Wishes are okay if we don’t mind waiting for someone else or something else to grant them. A goal, on the other hand, is dependent solely on us to become reality.
Next, our goals must be in harmony with our life’s priorities. If they are not, we will either experience disenchantment if we attain them, or more likely, we will experience a frustrating series of subconscious self-sabotage. Hopefully, by now, all of us have done the Life’s Priorities exercises outlined in last month’s e-newsletter. If you haven’t, you’ll need to do them before you tackle these next steps.
Once we have identified our life’s priorities, then we must list out the goals we want to achieve in these five categories:
1. Things goals: Things like a new car, a new stereo, a big screen TV, a racing bike, a graphite tennis racquet, a CD player, a leather jacket, etc.
2. Personal goals: Things like lose ten pounds or learn WordPerfect, or read a book a week, or run three miles every morning, or coach our son’s soccer team, etc.
3. Spiritual goals: Things like go to church, read the bible, study the other scriptures of the world, meditate, smile in the mirror, or things like that.
4. Career goals: Things like deliver three more cars this month than last, read a book on selling every month, ask for a promotion, develop a 90% demo rate, set an annual income goal, or build our own training library, etc.
5. Financial goals: Things that have to do with our net worth like pay off our credit card balances, buy a house, buy a second or third house, start a retirement fund, set up the vehicle to pay for our children’s college education, or to have X amount of liquid assets by this or that date, etc.
Then, we need to go back to each category and prioritize each of our goals as either a one year, a three year, a five year, ten year or a twenty year goal. We need to prioritize them according to their order of importance not just how long we think it should take. The more important, the harder we should push ourselves to get it done. Later we’ll break each goal down into even smaller time increments but first let’s get some momentum going.
Now, pick a very important one year goal. First, we need to write for this goal one paragraph of all the wonderful things that will happen when we achieve this goal. We sometimes call this paragraph “the carrot”.
Next, we need to write one paragraph of all the less than wonderful things that will happen if we do not attain the goal. We sometimes call this one “the stick”.
Then, we need to write a paragraph listing all the people, skills, knowledge, resources, etc. that we will need to achieve this particular goal.
Also, a paragraph of all the road blocks or impediments we can at least anticipate. This last paragraph will help reduce the inevitable problems into manageable challenges.
Lastly, we must put in writing what one action we will commit to taking within the next 24 hours to get the ball rolling towards the attainment of this goal. Remember, momentum is important!
Once the four paragraphs and first action step is committed to writing, then we can go back and break it down further into even smaller time tables for its attainment (in this case quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily actions). Now all we have to do is go back and repeat this process for every other goal we decide to take action on. That is goal setting in general. Now, here are some specifics to the car business.
Performance goals or unit and gross profit production.
First we need to go back for the last three months or start to track for the next three months our number of units per month, gross average per unit, and total gross per month in order to find out what our current average production is.
Then we can put together realistic goals of improvement. Although we all have different levels of talent or ability, a 10% improvement per quarter is substantial. Just ask your manager how the owner would feel about a 10% net improvement in the sales department and you will see what I mean. We set ourselves up for failure if our current average is 12 units per month and we set a goal to sell 22 units next month. That defeats the main purpose, in my opinion, of goal setting which is to condition ourselves to succeed. In order to get to 22 units per month, we must first get to 13, and then 14, and then 15, and so on. Remember, the road to success is paved with lots of little victories.
Also, just because we are currently selling 12 units a month doesn’t mean that we are only a 12 unit per month sales representative. It only means that we currently have the knowledge, tools, abilities, and work habits to produce 12 units a month. If we can expand our knowledge, acquire more tools, enhance out abilities, and develop new work habits, then we can improve our performance. So, how do we track our knowledge, tools, abilities, and work habits?
1. We need to track the number of customers we work with. Separate the face-to-face contacts from the phone contacts, but do track both.
2. Track the number of demos, write ups, commitments, and closes we perform and their corresponding ratio to total face-to-face contacts. Here’s a worksheet to help you do this: My Success Company’s Monthly Goals & Performance Worksheet. A good rule of thumb is 90% demo, 70% write up, 50% today commitment, and 30% close. The current national averages are considerably lower than these targets. Actually, a performance anywhere within 10% of these targets is a good job.
Now look, everyone is different and everyone else’s performance is irrelevant. The only relevant numbers are our own, and we must always strive to better ourselves, not necessarily anyone else.
As we continue to track our activities, we can set realistic goals for improvement in these areas also. If we want to sell one more car this month than last, then we can break it down to the daily activities necessary to achieve that goal.
We could do a whole program on this subject alone. As a matter of fact, one of the other programs I do is an all day goal setting seminar, but this should be enough to get us started. As we set our goals, it is important that we remember that purpose is greater than outcome. It’s not what we get that is important, it’s what we become. And it is not what we have that is important, it is who we are. Once we master the skill of goal setting, our life will become something we consciously pilot instead of just something we ride out.
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“By clarifying your goals and values you can literally get to the point where success chases you. You can attract the people, situations, and circumstances you need to achieve your goals.”
Objection of the Month: “I don’t need a salesperson.”
These are just a few of the most common strategies shared at the workshops we’ve conducted all across North America and attended by thousands of the top sales people in our field. Please keep in mind that nothing works all the time, and no one thing will work for everybody. Each of these strategies, of course, need to be tailored to the individual user, to the specific customer, and the particular situation. Also, this is by no means the definitive work on overcoming this particular objection and it’s not intended to be.
a. “Relax Ma’am, I assure you I’m so salesman. Actually, my sales manager reminds me of that fact just about every day!” (Then after they stop laughing, we introduce our self or use one of the other techniques.)
b. “You know Sir, it sounds like you’ve had a bad experience at another dealership before. May I please make a suggestion? Let’s simply do this, if you agree not to treat me like the last pushy salesrep you had to deal with, I’ll agree not to treat you like the last rude customer I had to deal with. Does that sound fair enough?”
c.“Ma’am, I know YOU have an intimate knowledge of what you want and need and I have an intimate knowledge of what this particular dealership can offer you. We can save each other a lot of time and grief by comparing notes and working together. Shall we try?”
d. “Sir, what do you do for a living? What are you expected to do in your job?” (After our customer responds we say), “In my job, I’m expected to treat each customer with respect and assist them in any way I can to make their shopping experience as pleasant and efficient as possible. Will you please allow me to do my job?”
e.“That’s fine, Ma’am, here’s my card. I’ll just lay back here a few feet from you, that way if you need me to open up a car for you, or if you have a question, I’ll be close enough to help out.” (Then we wait until they invite back over to them with a question or to open up a car.)
f. “Ma’am, did I do something to offend you or am I just catching you on a bad day?” (We need to look stern, frown, and move closer to them when we ask the first part before the word “or” and then step back, relax, smile and shake our head slowly “yes” when we ask the second part. Use this one only if the customer is being rude to us. When she says she’s having a bad day, she’s opened herself up to us.)
g. “It seems to me you’ve had a bad experience with sales people before. What happened?” (Now we let our customer vent and simply listen to them. Once they’ve stopped we say), “You know what I don’t like about sales people?”, (and we add one thing we don’t like about sales people that they didn’t mention. Then we say), “You know, not all sales people are the same. Some are even pleasant and helpful. Will you please give me the chance to prove that to you?”
h. “It’s obvious to me that you’ve been mistreated by a salesperson before. What happened?” (We let our customer vent and simply listen to them. Once they’ve stopped we say), “You know, that’s so unfair…”, (and then we pause and hold our thumb and pointer finger an inch apart. Then we say), “It’s that tiny little 97% of pushy car sales people that ruin it for the rest of us!”
Next month’s objection will be: “This is the first place we’ve shopped.” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to [email protected].
“Circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him.”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost
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“No matter how many times I attend Michael Hargrove’s seminars, I come away with more than I came with. Not only more knowledge and skills but with more sense of purpose and reasons to lead a more productive and meaningful life.”
David C. Coquillette, Salesman – Mercedes Benz of Fresno
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