by Pam Lontos
Highly successful men and women have one thing in common – They have specific predetermined goals that they work toward. If you want to win big in life, your first step on the highway to success begins with you, a piece of paper and a pen. When we get into our cars each day, we usually know where we are going and proceed accordingly. To quote motivational expert Bob Conklin, “If people operated their cars the way they operate their lives, they would never get out of the driveway.” Before people start their cars, they usually know where they want to go. If they don’t know how to get to their destination, they look at a map. Then, they start the car, applying the energy and power to complete the action.
The same principles are involved in operating your life. You cannot be directed to success and big money if you don’t know where you are going. You cannot accomplish great things if you don’t know what you want to accomplish. Goals are a key ingredient of success. But there are people who fail who say they had a goal in mind.
What went wrong? Why do some people achieve their goals, and some do not? Having a goal in mind is not enough. Setting goals properly so that you arrive safely at your predetermined destination requires several ingredients. The best recipe in the world may not work if an important ingredient is left out. Let’s examine the different components for successful goal setting.
It’s important that you be specific in your goals. It’s not enough that you want more money. Exactly how much do you want? You need to be more specific than just expressing a desire to increase sales; you must have in mind exactly how much of an increase you want.
In order to get excited about your goals of making more money, you must examine why you want more. Is it for a new car, a vacation or retirement? Again, you must be specific. What kind of car do you want? What color do you want? Where would you like to go on that vacation? How long do you want to stay? Exactly when do you want to retire? If you write down that you want to make more money but you are not specific, you can make $1 more next month, and you have reached your goal.
When you are able to see the end result clearly in your mind, your imagination translates that vision into energy. You must remember the principle of imagination and energy when working with your goals and train yourself to be specific. When you can clearly define what you want, vividly see it in your imagination and strongly desire it, you will put great amounts of energy into creating the conditions that will result in achieving your goals.
When you harness your energy into goal-oriented activities, you create within yourself a power to attain anything you want. Think of the ideas in your mind as being rays of light. Diffused light can fall harmlessly on a sheet of paper. Yet when that light is focused through a magnifying glass, it creates fire. Intensely focused, this same amount of light can become a laser beam that will cut through steel.
What is the wavelength of the ideas in your mind right now? Scattered energy can be exhausting and create nothing. How do you get your staff to be goal directed so you can increase productivity? At least once a month, you need to have goal-setting meetings in which your staff discusses the things each person wants to have and to do. Hearing others talk about large goals will push smaller thinkers out of their self-limiting comfort zone into a higher comfort zone.
Too often, managers push their sales staff to “sell more” when they could achieve much more if they inspired them to “want more.” The salesperson fueled by a burning desire to achieve his or her own personal goals sees more people, works harder and closes more sales. This results in an even higher billing than the quota that you might have given him or her. The salesperson with no personal desire, under pressure from management to achieve a quota, is the salesperson that procrastinates and doesn’t put enough time into actively selling. Since salespeople are on their own, you must be sure that they are self-motivated to achieve their goals.
Your salespeople also must set their own goals. No one puts out extra effort to achieve someone else’s goal. High-performance behavior comes only when people are working toward a goal they have set for themselves and want to achieve. Granted, you need to set some quota for your salespeople. But often, once you make them goal-directed, their sales figures may far exceed your original monthly projections. So the next step in goal setting with your staff is to make them expand their “comfort zones.”
In your meetings, ask how much money each salesperson wants to earn, and guide them to set the amount larger than the amount they are already making. You must teach them to stretch, but also teach them to be realistic. After they decide how much they want to make per month, they must determine what their monthly billing figure will be. Remember, start with the amount of money they want to make. Salespeople, like their customers, care about what’s in it for them.
This works only if you have been using positive goal-setting techniques each week with encouragement from you to your staff to constantly stretch out of old “comfort zones.” Use a whiteboard during your sales meetings. After asking each person how much he or she wants to make, write on the board how much each one needs to sell to make his or her goal. If someone’s figures add up to $2,824, get them excited about making $3,500. That’s only $676 more. Give a gentle push to someone making $4,200 to set a new goal of $5,000.
By getting each person to commit to just a little more, you begin to raise your group’s monthly figures higher and higher. It is up to you as a manager to give them the opportunity to do more and inspire pride in their achievements. Each day, you must create excitement about achieving their goals by using applause during sales meetings and praise for sales made. This will create harmony in your sales department. Your salespeople will not only be excited about their own sales, but also about each other’s sales.
It’s important to have long-term and short-term goals. Since salespeople do not always see immediate results from long-term goals, they can become easily discouraged. You should break long-term goals into bite-sized pieces to make them appear easier to attain. For example, achieving a $1,000 sales increase in one month only requires an additional $250 per week.
It is also important that all goals be in the present tense. In the Bible, it says, “Whatsoever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them.” (Mark 11:24). If you say, “I will make $1,500 more next month,” your subconscious hears “next month.” The subconscious takes thoughts literally, so next month will never arrive. It will always be “next month;” it will never be “now.” Instead, you must say, “I am making $1,500 more now,” even though you are not yet doing that. It takes at least 21 days of repeating and believing this to reprogram your mind.
You can’t outrun the “picture” in your subconscious mind. This means that what you believe is what you get. If someone loses weight but still sees himself or herself as a fat person, he or she will regain the weight. You always go to the “picture” in your mind.
The key to success is to change the “picture” in your mind before you start the action required to achieve your goal. Do that with positive affirmation cards. Write down your goals in the present tense, and say them aloud three times each day. Another reprogramming devise is the dream chart. Cut out pictures representing your goals (a new car, house, job title, relationship, etc.) and paste them on a piece of construction paper. The subconscious mind thinks in pictures, so let these “snapshots” of your goals filter into your subconscious by studying them each day.
This sounds simple, and it is. So why isn’t everyone you meet at the top? It requires more than just positive thinking. It also requires positive believing and positive acting. You can’t just read this and have all your dreams come true. You must put these concepts into action. It takes a great deal of mental strength to maintain a positive attitude and to truly believe that you have attained the goals for which you are still striving. But it is worth the effort, because it does work. If you follow these guidelines, you will be happier, more successful and more prosperous in everything you do.
Pam Lontos is president of PR/PR, a public relations firm based in Orlando, FL. She is the co-author of I See Your Name Everywhere and is a former Vice President of Sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting in charge of 8 radio and 2 TV stations. PR/PR has placed clients in USA Today, Entrepreneur, Time, CNN, Reader’s Digest, and Cosmopolitan. Clients include Brian Tracy, LeAnn Thieman (author of Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, Second Dose), and Sy Sperling (founder of Hair Club for Men). They also work with professionals who are just launching their company.
You can contact Pam at:
Pam Lontos, President
775 S. Kirkman Rd., Ste. 104
Orlando, FL 32811
Fax (407) 299-2166
©Copyright 1998 by Pam Lontos. All rights reserved. Used with permission.