Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Setting Sales Goals (And Life Goals)

A salesman very often is given a budget at the start of a new year telling him what he is expected to generate in revenue. It might be based on growth expectations, salary justification, or any number of other reasons. Looking at a total figure can be daunting, though, especially if the salesman is expected to substantially increase his production. Imagine, for instance, the goal was to increase his sales from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. A 50% increase looks huge, but can it be done?

By taking a large goal and breaking it down into incremental goals, the mountain can be climbed. Take the total goal and divide it by 50 - the number of weeks that will most likely be worked (or 48, if he gets that much vacation). That works out to $30,000/week. Dividing that by five (five working days) brings the number to $6000/day. With an average load paying $2000, that means the salesman (or dispatcher, as we call them in this industry) needs to get three loads a day to make his goal. Now the goal seems much more achievable than it might have by only looking at the total.

The process can also be reversed by examining what a higher average would do to the total. By averaging $8000/day, that's $40,000/week, or $2,000,000 in a year. By having a daily goal, the salesman can also track his progress on maintaining his overall progress. Any day he surpasses the daily goal, he knows he has added to his annual total, and any day he misses the average he's subtracted.

This same process can be a great way to get motivated to lose weight, train for a race, or save to buy a new TV/car/whatever. If I want to lose 50 pounds this year, it sounds really impossible until I consider that I just need to lose a pound a week to do it. A pound and a half means I could lose 75. And that's allowing me two weeks of holding pat (not gorging and gaining it all back, though).

Setting dailing and weekly goals can help motivation, reduce stress, and provide vision in taking on huge tasks. As a wise man explained when he was asked how he could possibly eat an elephant, he simply stated, "One bite at a time."

-- Robert


le35 said...

In the realm of goal making, it makes sense to make goals for projects that have an ending or a goal finish (For instance 1,500,000 in sales that year.) However, what about making goals for the job that never ends (i.e. cleaning the house?)

Robert said...

Eternal progression comes to mind. Sales is a job that "never ends". A salesman should hope to grow his sales each year.

That said, I know exactly where you are coming from, and that's kind of what I was driving at with this post. Looking forever into the future can be daunting. Looking at a dirty house that has been that way for a while makes it seem like you can never achieve "clean". I have seen some real progress in finding clean at the end of each day by following Fly Lady (it did wonders for my house). What she does is sets small goals to bring down the general level of mess by having small periods concentrated on a given area. Using her ideas, our house got much less cluttered and much more clean. Is there more to be done? Absolutely. But I do not believe that "clean" in a constant, absolute sense is achievable in a lived-in home. I think it can be cleaned each day where necessary, cleaned each week, cleaned each month, and so on. Schedules can be set, plans made, and time spent executing. In my home, fortunately (because I do not consider my children at all unfortunate), those plans do not always work out because children do not always help keep things clean and uncluttered. They have a magical ability to take a room that was clean for five minutes and make it appear as if no work was done at all to clean it. I know that makes cleaning very frustrating in my home, but I think it comes with the territory of having kids. I wish I was better at decluttering and creating structure, and that is certainly something I need to do better about finding incremental goals in my own life to help it happen more often and more consistently. Thanks for the question.

Robert said...

One thing I definitely see with truckers, and perhaps it is true of anyone in a working environment, is that sameness gets old. Cleaning the same house, the same rug, the same dishes every day gets old. Making the same run to and from certain points over and over bores drivers, and doing the nine to five (or as most of the world has it, eight to six or seven to seven) can feel like a neverending cycle of repeating transactions and conversations. I remember coming home from a day of dispatching and answering a phone just like I would at work. I wish I had the answer, but I don't. Finding a way to get up each day and tackle a new day, knowing it might not be all that different than the last, that is a real challenge. I salute the working men and women (especially the stay-at-home mothers like my wife and my own mother) who accomplish it with such style every day. One day maybe I'll get there.