“A man without a goal will never know when he reaches it.”
Having a goal — something you want to achieve by making sales — is the single most important factor in successful selling. No other element, not knowledge, experience, or technique means as much. The salesman working towards a goal is already more than halfway home. In contrast, the salesman without a goal is like a blindfolded batter: it doesn’t make any difference how good his stance, how powerful his swing, or the order in which he bats; unless he can get his eye on the ball, he isn’t going to make it to first base.
We all have dreams and desires, but few of us have clear-cut goals. Goals are specific objectives attained through concrete actions. If you’re just beginning your career, your goal might be to put food on the table while still having enough left over to pay the rent. Later it might be to put a new sports car in your driveway, or to take the family on vacation to Europe. Whatever your goal, its only a dream until you take the steps to make it come true.
- Define your objective.
If you can’t measure it, rate it, or describe it, it’s probably a wish not an achievable goal. To be “rich” is a wish or a dream; to have a $100,000 nest egg is a goal.
- Put it on paper.
Writing out a goal clarifies it and makes it more concrete. If you don’t care enough about it to write it down, you probably don’t care enough to do it. A former colleague in sales used to take a ribbing from the boys whenever he pulled out his “goal card” for a quick review. Today he’s a retired millionaire, and the only ribbing he gets is about his golf game.
- Map your strategy.
Identify the people, resources, and steps needed to achieve your goal. Break it down into bite-size pieces. Remember, lifetime goals are met one day at a time.
- Set a deadline.
Goals are dreams with deadlines. Deadlines provide a time frame for action and get us moving. It’s not enough to be working towards a European vacation; you need to specify when you’re going to take it.
- Commit yourself.
Put a deposit on the vacation. Announce your goal to your boss. Buy the ring for your fiancee. Taking a first step — publicly and irreversibly — can provide the push to progress needed to fulfill a dream.
- Don’t fear failure.
The most successful among us often make many unsuccessful attempts before finally succeeding. Babe Ruth — the Sultan of Swat — hit more home runs than his peers but he struck out more often too.
- Persist, persist.
As Winston Churchill put it: “Never! Never! Never! Never! Give up!” Few worthwhile objectives, no matter how well planned, are obtained without overcoming obstacles.
While dreams are the purpose of the future, goals provide the energy and direction to make them come true. A salesman with a dream has a star in his eye; a salesman with a goal has a star in his future.