Each year on December 31st we reflect upon our achievements over the past year and contemplate what we could do better or differently to improve our lives. Lose weight. Stop smoking. Visit family more regularly.
Accordingly, New Year resolutions are formed however many of us recognize within the first few months of the year that the achievement of these new goals will most likely be futile.
Why do so many New Year resolutions fail?
In sales and banking we also generally reflect at year-end upon our results and rejoice or lament over our performance and our bonus/commission check for the year. For most sales organizations and banks there is an expectation that sales targets are expected to grow and, despite the daunting task at hand, we become enthralled by the greater earning potential and what affect this may have on our lives.
However many sales people and front line bankers also experience the “resolution blues” as their New Year enthusiasm rapidly descends into a mid year struggle. The challenge of achieving their larger annual target starts to feel insurmountable and their confidence of greater financial prosperity wanes.
So why do so many sales people and bankers fail to achieve New Year sales targets?
The answer to these questions is simple:
1. We don’t truly understand WHY these goals are important to us
2. We don’t truly understand HOW to achieve these goals
1. Understanding WHY
Motivational speaker Simon Sinek claims that it all “Starts With Why”. Understanding why your goals are important to you will motivate you to achieve them.
Without strong and rigid motivation, you are unlikely to pursue your goals passionately and aggressively. You are unlikely to commit to the actions required to achieve your goals and targets.
It is essential that you strongly link your WHY (motivation) to:
- Acquiring great pleasure – something that would greatly benefit your life and that of your loved ones; and/or
- Avoiding great pain – something that could adversely impact your life and that of your loved ones in a severe manner.
Picture yourself enjoying the benefits of achieving your goals. Also picture your life confronted with the problems you are seeking to avoid. Make the picture vivid and tangible. Share this picture/story (your motivation) with your loved ones and add their reactions/responses to your new “motivational picture album”.
To truly maintain your motivation, your WHY should be a “MUST HAVE in your life” …. NOT a “nice to have”. It is easy to dismiss “nice to have” motivational factors but impossible to dismiss “must have” factors. Consequently “avoiding pain” is a usually a greater motivator than “acquiring pleasure”.
Without this strong and vivid understanding of why achieving your goals is important to you (and your loved ones) it is unlikely you are going to stretch beyond your comfort zone and persevere with your newly developed Activity Plan (see below).
2. Learning HOW
There is minimal chance you will achieve your New Year targets if you continue to do what you have always done. If that were the case, you would have achieved these goals last year. In fact, doing what you have always done will likely get you less and less in each subsequent year.
It’s time to move out of your comfort zone if you want to achieve these new goals and undertake a new course of action. By firstly understanding WHY, you have already determined that the desired benefits far outweigh any preconceived fears of action.
Learning HOW to achieve your new goals and gain your desired benefits is relatively easy. It starts with understanding that benefits can only be achieved by taking ACTION. So you need to develop and commit to an Activity Plan.
Consider these four essential elements for creating a successful activity plan:
Start by creating specific goals/targets and identify specific activities required to achieve them. Research your goals and target markets to determine what is the most effective way for you to gain success.
For example – to lose weight you clearly need to eat better and go to the gym. It’s important however that you first research how you can effectively lose weight based on your body type and family history. Then detail which gym you will go to, how often you will go, what exercises you will perform, what foods you will eat and when you will eat them.
To achieve your higher New Year sales targets its important you research your target market to identify opportunities and then determine the best actions required to realize/convert those opportunities – such as outreach calls, networking, referrals, campaigns, etc.
This strategic focus will help you develop a specific Activity Plan that will maximize your chances of success.
Now that you have identified the specific activities required to achieve your goals, it is important you develop the skills, behaviors and beliefs to execute the activities effectively.
There is no point going to the gym or changing your diet if you do not know how to use the gym equipment or know how to prepare quality meals.
Similarly in sales, to become more confident and effective at the activities required for success, you need to continually develop your business development skills, behaviors and beliefs.
Learn best practices and confidently implement these learnings. Accept that you may initially fail, but focus on your motivation and seek guidance to improve your performance.
Once you understand the key activities required for success and you have developed the skills to effectively perform those activities, it is now essential you execute your Activity Plan.
Develop a process/system for recording your activities and the results. Review your performance periodically to ensure you are effectively completing the required activity and achieving the desired benefits.
Assess challenges and limitations that may be impacting your ability to execute your Activity Plan and determine methods to overcome.
It is important you are held accountable for executing your Activity Plan and have a process for overcoming setbacks.
Enlist support to help you with the above Activity Plan essentials. I would suggest that it is impossible to successfully execute your Activity Plan and achieve your goals without:
- expert advice from an experienced professional (or center of influence) to complete your strategy;
- a skilled coach to more effectively develop your skills, behaviors and beliefs; and
- a manager or mentor to hold you accountable, review your performance and offer guidance.
To learn HOW to effectively achieve your New Year resolutions/targets requires a concerted effort to develop a specific Activity Plan, ongoing skill development, a process for maintaining clear accountability and the support of experienced professionals.
As the New Year begins I encourage you to make this the year you stop lamenting failed New Year resolutions and stop struggling to achieve New Year sales targets. You invested plenty of time over the past few weeks reflecting upon your dreams and desires with colleagues, family and friends …. now invest time in understanding WHY these goals are important to you and confidently determine HOW you will achieve these goals with a focused Activity Plan.
Greater motivation combined with a clear activity plan will make this your best year ever!
Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For advice on how to better achieve your New Year sales targets please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the webpage www.growupsales.com
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