I set goals but rarely reach them. How can I stay on track?
Would you measure, monitor and report your results if you knew you would increase your performance by 500 per cent? You can and here’s how. Setting goals is the easy part. But achieving them takes the effort and has the big payoff. Here is my short course on Goal Achievement.
- Make your performance goals more meaningful. Make them about more than money. Money isn’t a universal motivator but attaching goals to aspirations for achievement (a new cottage, new car, college for the kids, a new kitchen…), where you have an emotional connection, you will be more likely to keep on track.
- Sometimes goals are too high. Sometimes they are too low. If they are out of sight for you right now, lower them to encourage achievement and feel the win. If they are too low, they won’t motivate you. Raising your goals might inspire you.
- Don’t make your goal equal to your financial requirements so if you fall a little short, you’ve failed. Targets should exceed requirements by at least 25 per cent. So, if you need $100,000, make your minimum goal at least $125,000. Something to reach for helps.
- Three types of goals work best for this business: Activity (Your controllable effort inputs), Number of New Sales (Showing how you are helping more people) and New Compensation (How you add to your base and grow your business).
- Create meaningful ratios from your performance data so you know your effectiveness. Referrals per request, sales per close attempt, reaches per dial, appointments per contact, compensation per sale... When you know your ratios, you can improve your effectiveness.
- Break annual goals down into manageable parts. What must you do every day to reach your annual goal? Don’t make the mistake of counting on too many production weeks either. You only have about 40 weeks a year to achieve your goals. Success takes working harder than you think when you work. Success achievement is urgent. Think about generating income 3 days a week for 40 weeks per year. Ask and I’ll email you the report.
- Not all business “seasons” are equal. Don’t necessarily expect a big new business January, July, August or December. (See why 40 weeks is all you have?)
- Goal Setting without goal monitoring and reporting is not goal setting at all. It’s wishful thinking. Everyone needs an “Accountability Partner” someone to report results to. Check in with a colleague every morning to share daily goals and results for bragging rights or a coffee the next day. Have formal monthly meetings with an accountability partner. Get your 500 per cent increase. Accountability is not optional if you want to be a high performer.
Goals are missed by not paying attention to the activities that generate them and letting the situation get out of hand. Control these activities and you will drive your overall performance. Make measuring and monitoring your results a critical part of your business model and you won’t miss your goals any more.
Business has been very slow lately and I can’t get unstuck. How do to get out of a slump?
There’s nothing worse than a slump. That sense that you’ve lost your touch and will never get it back. What starts out as a bad week becomes a bad month and maybe even a bad quarter. Soon, you are questioning your ability, your sanity, your future and searching through job postings. It happens to the best of us.
The sooner you recognize you are slump bound, the sooner you will get out of it. Recognize the signs and take evasive action and you minimize your down time.
Here are some signs you are slump bound. When the number of your appointments booked ahead is dropping, you are heading for trouble. When your “in the mill” new business is shrinking, a slump could be in your future. When you feel you’re “running out of gas”, tired, overwhelmed or cranky, you might be headed for a slump. If you are spending less time with prospects and more time at the office, you could be slump bound. There as many causes of slumps as there are advisors but here are a few to avoid.
- Getting overworked leads to inadvertent loafing and you get less done.
- Without a sharp business focus and target audience you can easily get overwhelmed and unconsciously slow down.
- “Big-case-it is” – only working on very big cases, means you have too few victories to keep up your enthusiasm. Business naturally lags when the big sale doesn’t come in as planned.
- No goals and not monitoring performance disconnects you from your business and a slump could sneak up on you because you weren’t watching.
- Poor sales technique can mean you’re making calls but not converting enough of them.
- You could be choosing inappropriate prospects for your skill set and not be able to make sales.
- Weak prospecting can mean you don’t have enough people to see and aren’t selling.
- A few lost cases, transfers out or replacements can put you into a downward spiral because losing takes a lot more out of you than winning puts back in.
When you know what causes a slump you can eliminate the causes. You can also start working a simple idea to get a win under your belt and start to get unstuck. Focus on a new idea, a new product, a new approach to re-energize you. Servicing clients will remind you of your value and put you back on track. Visit with friendly clients or colleagues who can re-inspire you. Set up client birthday lunches and pay for their guests to add to your prospect list and prime your sales pump. Review and update your sales process. Revisit your sales training. Find a coach to help.
You can prevent slumps too: Book appointments at least 3 weeks in advance so you have a better attitude and are always “in business”. Take regular vacations to stay fresh and inspired. Keep prospecting so you always have calls to make. Get and stay organized so you are always on top of your situation. Slumps don’t come to stay, they come to pass – if you dig in.