Last updateWed, 25 Mar 2020 1pm

Setting Goals

Welcome to 2016! It is a pristine year, with all sorts of possibilities available to you! As this applies to your business, it may be valuable to haul out your crystal ball and peer into how you would like this year to be burnished into your memory and into the financial/marketing/product/growth ledgers. 

Hopefully, each of the above-listed categories is already in decent health and attaining or exceeding any goals you set will be accomplished with ease and finesse! It is a given that achievement will occur. The question is not will you achieve things; unless you cease breathing, of course you will achieve things. However, at the end of 2016, will there be any alignment of what you want to achieve with what you do achieve? This requires careful and honest examination of conditions as they currently are and precisely defining all desired outcomes. 

The degree to which goals are spelled out correlates with the degree to which they can possibly be met. For example, if I state that I want to produce a million dollars in sales in 2016, the specifics I stated are a million dollars in sales and I want to do it in 2016. If my current situation is such that I produced $800,000 in sales in 2015 then I only need to produce 25% more in 2016. Next, and most importantly, I need to develop the specific and measurable steps that I intend to utilize to reach the goal. So if I need to produce an additional $200,000 dollars to make my goal, the steps I need to take are vastly different than if I only have to produce a $50,000 increase, if I had produced $950,000 in sales, in 2015 dollars to hit my goal! 

The next step is realistic. If the salesperson produced $500,000 in sales in 2015 then it is unrealistic to think that a salesperson could double their sales and produce $1,000,000. If you produced $800,000 in sales in 2015, then it is realistic to think that you could produce 25% more in sales and hit the $1,000,000 goal. 

If the goal is too easily reachable, the better reality might be to set a goal that is more worthy of the talents necessary to attain it. If the goal represents a reality so far beyond your understanding of possibility, the net result is likely to be discouragement and abandonment of the endeavor. Surprisingly or not, neither is likely to result in accomplishment! The lower goal is unlikely because it is so easy that the natural tendency is to blow it off and completely neglect to fulfill the rudimentary steps to success. The lofty goal is unlikely because it may be so difficult that any time that one of the steps is not met with ease or on time, the whole project is scrapped in dismay!  

To be attainable, goals must be worthy of the time and talent necessary to achieve them and only difficult enough to represent a challenge to extend oneself beyond one’s comfort zone to try new things in the effort to meet or exceed them. Personally, I believe in setting a goal that I know I can attain with some effort and then increasing that goal by about ten percent.

Obviously, the financial success of a business determines its future (or lack thereof - yikes!). A business’s ACTION PLAN, or Annual Projection, is both a measure of the health of the business and the target for growth and income. From these assessments, quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily goals for each salesperson can be derived and progress can be charted. Continuing to break a large goal or annual projection into smaller segments provides a measure of control in its attainment. The greater control desired, the more precise each measurement must be.

For example, the company Opulence Jewelry had a goal for 2015 of $1 million in sales. For continued health, the 2016 minimum goal is $1.1 million. The annual projection for Opulence Jewelry is $1.2 million. The stretch goal for Opulence Jewelry is $1.33 million!

Statistical experts recommend that a retail operation’s annual goal be divided by thirteen months to account for the fluctuations in holiday sales where December would make up 2/13 of the yearly goal. Whatever a company’s goals are (whether considering minimal, actual or stretch goals), one-thirteenth of that amount seems easier to attain than the entire amount! It is likely that some months are more productive, in terms of sales, than others. Making adjustments in monthly goals to account for higher volume of sales and lower volume during those months that have historically produced lesser or greater sales further fine-tunes the goals. In addition, Opulence Jewelry has historically had greater volume of sales during the first and third weeks of each month, so adjusting weekly goals to take into consideration these facts is also helpful. Then, it is discovered that Monday is typically a slower day and Friday is generally a busier day than the average; fine-tuning again refines the picture of sales needed to attain each daily goal. 

Taking this a step further, I know that there are 5 sales persons available to handle the sales of the “average” day. Salesperson A has many years of successful experience to bring into the sales situation. Salesperson B is a consistent high-achiever. Salesperson C tends to “go with the flow” and produces right at the store’s daily average in volume. Salesperson D is a part-timer and Salesperson E just began his career in sales three months ago. Each salesperson would then be assigned a different percentage of the total goal based on factual statistical information. 

By considering a variety of variables and the likelihood of both contributing factors and detracting factors, those goals can be specified even further. These “mini-steps” constitute the task lists of the goals for each month, week, day and person. Providing such a detailed analysis of the global goal of “Annual Projection--Stretch Version” makes each portion of each goal more likely to be successfully attained with less stress on each participant!

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and  produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.