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Shane Decker

Why and How To Set Sales Goals

Individual and team success depends on clearly established objectives.

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SOME SALESPEOPLE show up for work each day with no expectations; others arrive with a goal in mind and a plan for reaching it. Which salesperson do you think is more productive and successful?

There are a number of reasons to set goals as a salesperson, and all of them make you and those around you better.

1. Setting goals keeps you competitive with yourself. It makes you want to beat yesterday, last week, last month and last year.

2. Having a goal makes you want to improve.

3. It pushes you to learn and research more about product knowledge, professional salesmanship and closing skills.

4. It makes you more competitive in a team environment. (Caveat: Always be a team leader and help others to hit their goals as well.)

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5. Having goals makes you want to break bad selling habits.

6. It improves follow-up and proactive salesmanship.

7. If you’re selling more, it makes your team members want to sell more, creating a culture of self-improvement in those around you.

8. You can create a business within a business. The more you sell, the more clients come in and ask for you again.

9. Goal-setters learn from their mistakes and they hate failure.

10. Goal setting makes you more passionate about your career and can increase your income drastically.

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Depending on your personality and how you want to push yourself, there are three kinds of goal-setters:

The Realistic Goal-Setters

These salespeople set their goal at 10 percent above last year to make sure they hit their goal. Then they want to see how far past it they can go. If they set the goal too high, they feel they can’t hit their number and they may mentally quit before they start. If you’re a Realistic Goal-Setter, set your goal so you can achieve it, and then see how far past it you can go.

The Stretch Goal-Setters

These people sets their goal at 10 percent but then they have a stretch goal of 15 percent. They’re motivated to hit the bigger number, but if they don’t, they’re OK — at least they tried. By going past their first goal, they’re motivated to hit the second one, but they don’t feel defeated if they don’t.

The Extreme Goal-Setters

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These salespeople set their goals very high, usually in all aspects of life. They might set their goals 30 or 40 or 50 percent higher than the year before. If they set their goal too low, after they hit the goal they quit and become bored. They set it so high, they hardly ever hit it, but it motivates them to hit an almost impossible amount.

It doesn’t matter which kind of goal-setter you are. Each accomplishes the same thing: improvement. Choose whichever type of goal fits your personality best and run with it.

If you’re the store owner or manager, help your people to have team goals and individual goals based on each person’s skill set. For new salespeople, do not set their goal too low. Usually, their first year performance should be about one-third of your highest volume salesperson. If you have someone writing $1 million a year, a first year salesperson will usually sell about $300,000.

If your sales team does not like having individual goals posted somewhere, let each person know privately. Keep each person up to date on what his goal is each month and where he is for the year. You can post the total team goal so everyone can see the total number. This allows them to work together and celebrate as a unit. (Be sure that the shop and back office staff are also included in the rewards and celebrations.)

So be a goal-setter — it motivates others to be successful. And if you help someone else be successful, they’ll help you as well.

Shane Decker has provided sales training to more than 3,000 jewelry stores. Shane cut his teeth in jewelry sales in Garden City, KS, and sold over 100 1-carat diamonds four years in a row. Contact him at [email protected].

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