Now is a great time to think about new sales goals for 2013 and beyond. Unfortunately, much like New Year's resolutions to lose weight or get organized, many sales goals never become a reality. Part of the problem is that goals swirling around in our heads or discussed during meetings never become concrete. I recently discussed this phenomenon with Jim Coriddi, vice president of the dealer division at Ricoh Americas. Coriddi and I agreed on the first step toward achieving sales goals: write them down. "For your sales goals to develop further, they have to be put on paper, computer screen, tablet, or white board so everyone can see them and talk about them," Coriddi says. "That's when the ideas move towards an actionable objective." Here are four ways my team and I put pen to paper to advance our goals.
1. Make it personal. When I was a sales manager, I asked my sales team to hand in one sheet of paper outlining their goals, labeling one side "12 month business goals" and the other "12 month personal goals." Then, I asked each rep to come up with a minimum of 10 goals for each side, which we could then fine tune together. Having them create their own goals was key. If they wrote it, they owned it. On many occasions, I was surprised by their ideas. The exercise also helped me understand what motivated them individually.
2. Take a page from Patton. I'm not comparing sales to armed conflict, but I do think there's something to be said for creating a "war room" equipped with white boards, flip charts, and screens detailing key action steps for you and your team. A funny thing happens when you keep your goals always in view: You start to achieve them. Even when I leave my office, the ideas on the wall are still top of mind.
3. Get a view from the top. I start each day by looking at all of my business goals and projects on pad of paper. I break down my business into six categories in the form of a spider web, which lets me see how my goals connect with one another. I can also focus on the center of the web, which is the core of my business. Since I started using this system, I've gotten much better at focusing on important tasks throughout the day.Now, I'm much less likely to kick myself at the end of the day because I forgot to call a specific client or complete another key task.
4. Create an old-fashioned to-do list. These days, there are plenty of software applications for creating to-do lists. But, for many of us, technology is replacing something of great value: a simple pad of paper. There is something about writing a to-do list on lined paper and crossing off the actions you've completed that can't be replicated on a screen. When you put pen to paper, your brain works differently than when you type. Remembering the shapes of the letters requires a different type of feedback from the brain and helps you retain the information longer. Even though my goals are backed up on my computer, nothing beats the feeling I get from updating my to-do list on my desk at the end of the day.