Setting Realistic Sales Goals

Achieving sales goals for your business is one of the biggest challenges any owner or manager faces. There are so many factors that can affect that final number.

Hopefully, you have a staff of people who are dedicated, professional and motivated to help you achieve your business goals. If you do not, read no further. Instead, read up on how to hire the right people to sell your products and services.

Let’s assume for now, though, that you do have the right people in place. How do you set the sales goals you want and need without being pushy and demanding of your sales team? Some businesses ask every person on the team to meet the same sales goal equally. That’s the easiest thing for a busy manager to do. The challenge with that is not everyone is capable of achieving at the same level. Some salespeople are better with a certain product. Others work best with a certain type of client. Again, those darn variables.

So, since your business life is so powerfully impacted by variables, I suggest you master the art of flexibility in working with them. Smart business owners work with each person on their staff individually as to what is expected of them to keep the business afloat and growing. Each person must be evaluated based on their skills, knowledge and interests.

It’s wise to always have an overall company goal set so you know what you’re trying to achieve. It’s also a good practice to step back every now and then and look at the big picture of your business as it relates to that goal. Look for things you can pare down or improve upon to help you reach the goal. It’s also wise to have you sales team know what that goal is so they can determine where they fit into your plans.

When you have given others the responsibility to handle sales for you, you need to meet with them eyeball-to-eyeball (or at the very least in a telephone meeting) once a month. Don’t panic! This should only take 5-10 minutes per person per month.

Begin by thanking the team member for their past service to the business. Review how they did with their sales last month. Ask them if they’re pleased with their numbers. Ask what they might do differently if they had an opportunity to go back 30 days and relive that month over again. Often both you and they will be surprised by some of the creative answers they come up with. Use that information to move forward to planning for the next month’s goals.

Ask your salesperson what their income goal is for the next six months. Break that down with them into a monthly goal. Ask if that monthly amount seems reasonable to them. When they confirm that it does, show them how many sales they must generate to achieve that goal. Again, have them commit to their belief in that goal being achievable. Then, talk with them about special offers or promotions that you are implementing so they can work them into their sales plan. Always end such a planning meeting by asking what you could provide them along the lines of product knowledge or selling skills education to help them continue to grow and achieve their goals with your business.

This sort of personal involvement in setting achievable goals for your people always works in your favor. You know what they believe they can do. They know what you hope for them to achieve. And, best of all, when they know you care enough to help them set individual, personalize goals, they’ll do their best to out-perform your expectations.

This information is copyrighted by Tom Hopkins International, Inc. for reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

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