Break Your Sales Goals into Smaller Pieces

By Tom Hopkins

When you’re setting sales goals, always begin with long‐term goals and work backward to medium‐range and short‐term goals. Your long‐term goals can be the hardest to set, so if you set those first, you accomplish the tough stuff right up front. Besides, you develop your medium‐range and short‐term goals from your long‐term ones. The next sections help you set all three kinds of goals.

Long‐term sales goals

Long‐term goals should be 20‐year projections. Granted, if you’re 75, your 20‐year goal may be just to be healthy enough to plant both feet on the ground each morning. No matter how young or old you are, picturing what you want your life to be like 20 years from today is difficult. But try to anyway — ­keeping in mind that your goals may change.

Three areas you may want to consider when you set your long‐term goals are for personal accomplishments, including health, lifestyle, and net worth. When you set long‐term goals, be specific. Instead of saying, “In 20 years, I want to live in a large house and be financially independent,” write something like this:

In 20 years, by the first of June, I will live in a 3,200‐square‐foot beachfront house by the Pacific Ocean. I will own this home free and clear and will live off the interest generated by the $5 million I have in the bank. I will walk on the beach every day as part of my health regimen and be a regular, committed volunteer in the community.

Get the picture? Your long‐range goals don’t have to be this grand, but they do need to be this specific.

Medium‐range sales goals

When you finish setting your long‐term goals, cut them in half and set medium‐range goals for about ten years down the road. Compare your 10‐year goals to your 20‐year goals and then determine the activity you need to keep to make those goals a reality. Then divide your ten‐year goals into five‐year goals.

Your medium‐range goals are your largest and perhaps fuzziest area, the goals you’ll probably have to adjust the most frequently. In looking at the long‐term example, the medium‐range goal you might draw from that could be that in ten years you will have $2 million in the bank and know the specific area of beach where you plan to own your home.

Short‐term sales goals

Always set your short‐term goals last. These are the goals that demand most of your attention. For the best results with short‐term goals, never set them for any longer than 90 days. Short‐term goals for anything longer than 90 days aren’t immediate enough to create a sense of urgency.

Immediately after you set short‐term goals, you need to start taking steps to achieve them. That way they take root as real, not‐to‐be‐denied entities in your mind — not tomorrow, not next week, but as soon as you make them. Your 90‐day goals should then be broken down into 60‐day goals, 30‐day goals, and eventually, the steps you can put in your calendar to take today to achieve them.

For example, if one of your short‐term goals is to improve your health, start a walking program now. It may take you awhile to make it a daily habit. And, you’ll quickly find out just how dedicated you really are to this as a long‐term goal.