By Natasa Cvijanovic
Whether or not the previous sales year was successful, the start of a new year inspires resolutions and new goals. Salespeople see this time as an opportunity to make changes and improvements. When things don't go as planned, we examine the previous year's events to determine what we can do differently in the coming year. If we had a terrific year, we look at how we can build on that and grow even further.
Most salespeople set goals to focus on what matters and guide their efforts in the appropriate direction. Without a clear destination, you'll drift, the year will pass you by, and you'll have little to show for it. Goal setting discourages procrastination.
As Denzel Washington famously stated, "Dreams without goals are just dreams, and ultimately they fuel disappointment." Let's look at the goal-setting process to ensure that doesn't happen to you.
You've probably heard of the acronym SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic or Relevant, and Timely. SMART goals incorporate all of these elements to help you increase your chances of success. If you haven't used SMART for your goal-setting strategy yet, try it this year.
When goals are specific, they have a much better chance of being achieved. Specific goals answer the five W questions: Who is involved in this goal? What do I hope to achieve? Where do I want to accomplish this goal? When do I want to complete this task? Why do I want to achieve this?
Vague ideas about success and self-improvement don't work. The objective is to make specific changes that lead to the desired results. A vague goal might be to make more money. A specific goal would be to increase your portfolio's revenue by X percent during the first quarter of 2023 by offering dual pricing to your merchants.
SMART goals must also include performance measures. Without them, you cannot gauge your progress and whether you are on course to achieve your goal. You can make a goal measurable by considering the following: How do you know if you've reached my goal? How can you tell if you're making progress? For example, based on the specific goal mentioned above of increasing your portfolio's revenue by X percent during the first quarter of 2023 by offering dual pricing to your merchants, you could aim to sign up a third of all new clients on dual pricing."
SMART goals are achievable. The effort required to accomplish your goals should be challenging but attainable. Think about whether you have the skills and resources to reach your goals.
Your goals should be realistic and relevant so they can be accomplished with the available resources and time, and they should reflect your professional aspirations. They should also come at the appropriate time in your career and be relevant to your needs, efforts and skills.
Does each of your goals have a due date? A SMART goal must have a start date and an end date. If a goal doesn't have a deadline, there will be no sense of urgency and, as a result, less motivation to reach it.
However, don’t stop there. Work smarter, not harder, as the saying goes. You should Evaluate and Revise your SMART goals if you want to make them SMARTER.
Features, such as being specific or timely, are important, but so is how you interact with your goals through evaluation and revision. The process of evaluation involves looking back and reflecting. What worked? What held you back? The ability to revise your goals is the final part of setting SMARTER goals. Goals are not set in stone. Things come up: a pandemic, a shift in the industry, supply chain challenges, or a change in the solutions or partners you sell for. There are numerous possibilities; as a result, revise your goals if and when necessary.
If you have ever said something like, "I want to be the greatest at X" or "I want to be the best MLS," you have probably already guaranteed your failure. There needs to be more clarity and direction in this goal. Using the SMARTER approach can help you push yourself further, gain focus, and set and achieve more challenging goals.
When we first implemented this practice at our company, some of our best salespeople said they didn't need to bother with goals since their goals were already in their heads. They had no idea that their current achievements represented only a fraction of what they were capable of accomplishing once their goals were put down on paper and they were committed to them.
Goal setting allows you to take ownership of your successes and gain insight from your failures. Taking stock of the targets that were not attained can be enlightening and humbling. Consider setbacks or failures as learning opportunities to re-evaluate and improve what is working for you.
You may even exceed your goals, which can also be surprising. Whether you fall short of or are far beyond your goals, maintaining your attention on the process can help you grow as an MLS and better judge your performance.
Natasa Cvijanovic, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Payments and member of the SEAA advisory committee, has a proven track record within the payment industry of cultivating successful relationships with ISOs, MLSs and strategic partners. In developing national sales channels, she provides training and coaching to sales partners to enable them to become better business partners and advocates for their merchants, and to assist them in building portfolios producing steady residual streams. She is also dedicated to consistently delivering high levels of professionalism, integrity, dependability and trustworthiness. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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