Paul Holwerda, Sales
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Do any of these new year resolutions sound familiar? “This is the year I am going to lose weight,” or “In 2022 I’m going to increase my sales by 20%,” or “we’re going to improve our customer service.” While all of these are great concepts, they aren’t really goals, they’re just wishes, wishes to do better.
The definition of a goal by Dictionary.com is, “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.” The best way I’ve found to put effort into a goal is by following the S.M.A.R.T. goal method. I had the privilege of learning the S.M.A.R.T. goal principle right after college from my former manager, friend, and eventual business partner who said, “Do it. It will change your life.” While at 22 years old, I was skeptical, I now still use the S.M.A.R.T. method both personally and at work.
The S.M.A.R.T goal-setting acronym reminds us to keep focused on 5 critical concepts. If you get your goal setting right, you will see success in your exercising habits, closing sales deals, or improving customer service goals in no time!
Here’s an example of setting a new goal. Let’s say you are on a sales team, and your wish is to increase your commission this year. Let’s transform your wish into a goal by implementing the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting method.
Is your goal specific? If your goal is to increase commission, that’s great, but you need to dig a little deeper to track something specific. An example could be the number of deals you close. So, now your wish reads: I want to increase my commission by closing 100 deals. Get as specific as you can!
Now you have a specific task to achieve, but ensure you can easily measure and track it. Find a tool to track your progress. I often use a spreadsheet to track the progress toward meeting my goal. It’s also a great time to check-in. Do you need to make some changes? Do you need to make some additional sales calls? Once you add in your measurements your wish reads: I want to increase my commission by closing 100 deals and I will track them on a spreadsheet.
Take a look at your goal and make sure it’s achievable. Don’t set unrealistic expectations of yourself when you know you probably won’t succeed. Push yourself to the next level, a level you think you can reach with hard work, but not something that is impossible. Maybe closing 100 deals is achievable, and maybe it’s not. Adjust if you need to.
Set goals that fit within your wheelhouse and your skillset. If your company only sees 100 leads a quarter, and marketing isn’t taking steps to increase leads, then setting a goal of closing 100 deals is not realistic. Ask yourself does the goal fit into your circle of influence? Modify for realistic expectations. Now your wish reads: I want to increase my commission by closing 40 deals that I’m tracking on my 2022 Goals Spreadsheet.
Assign a realistic date to be able to achieve your goal and then go for it. Take a look at historical data and trends and be honest with yourself. So finally, your goal reads…
My goal is to increase my commission by closing 40 deals in Q1 2022, which I will track on my 2022 Goals Spreadsheet.
Now you might be asking things like, “Paul, does this work? Do I have to write it down and review it daily? Will this help my business?” Each time I set a S.M.A.R.T. goal, after just a few months, I see results. To me, focusing on my goal and watching the effort affect the bottom line pushes me to keep going. If I was tracking and didn’t see the results I was looking for, I could adjust my method and make improvements to make sure I could still hit my target. I saw that by setting both short and long-term goals, I’m pushed to improve myself by being a more valuable player to my former employer, my current team, and most importantly to myself.
So what goals do you want to accomplish this year? What new results do you want to attain for yourself, your team, or your company? Try S.M.A.R.T goal setting. Avoid the wishlist and commit yourself this year to improving and achieving better results in 2022. With a little effort, you’ll see how valuable and helpful goal setting is. You can find new opportunities, higher financial rewards, and the personal joy of accomplishing what you set. Give it a try. It costs nothing for you to get started. Learn the joys of winning through the successes you will achieve with S.M.A.R.T goals.