Emotional goal setting

We’ve all set goals based on our emotions- who hasn’t vowed a radical transformation at the dawn of a new year only to wind up reverting to our old selves weeks later?

Like recovering from a hangover-the kind where we find ourselves pleading with the porcelain gods that if we can only survive one more time, we’ll never drink again, we as salespeople eek out a month that had disaster written all over it. In the final few hours we plead to the car gods above to grant us just one more reprieve. In exchange, we vow to never wait until the last minute again; we pledge that if spared, we will attack the ensuing month with abandon.

As a new month begins, the dry erase boards that publicly noted our mediocre finish, are wiped clean-all of last month’s transgressions are now buried in the eraser. Staring down the long barrel of a 25 day work month, we sit back in our chairs and emotionally blurt out our piece of cake, walk in the park, no days off, bell to bell goal. Six rejections later, we reflexively jerk back into our old habits-delaying today, but vowing to come out swinging in the tommorow’s of the second half of the month. As the second half begins, we guiltily tread the blacktop feeling the car gods are punishing our work ethic by sending us bad credit and negative equity customers. “If I could only get a customer who could buy, I would sell them,” you bemoan. Now that no one is worth your time, you begin setting up your fantasy league team-waiting for the perfect credit, lay-down customer to come waltzing in. With the noblest of intentions you prophesy that the last week of the month, you are going to give it your all. You are right back to where the insanity all started- 6 days to make a month. Does any of this sound familiar?

Think of goal setting as weightlifting. If the most you can bench press is 135 lbs-no matter how emotionally fired up you may be-no matter how much adrenaline is racing through your veins, it would be impossible to walk into the weight room the next day and bench press 350 lbs. As crazy as that sounds, we as sales consultants emotionally set goals much the same way. If you’re averaging selling 6 cars per month, even though your sick and tired of being sick and tired, it’ll be nearly impossible to attain a lofty goal of selling 3x (18) as many cars the following month. Sure you’ll emotionally fire out onto the blacktop-working later and longer, grabbing customers you’d never dreamed of catching before, calling customers you haven’t spoken to in years, but the minute the numbers don’t work in your favor and the fueled emotion evaporates in the thick air of rejection, you’ll inevitably revert back to your old ways.

Strength is gradual-so too is success. Think of success as a series of stepping stones and defeat as a cliff (how far you fall depends on how fast you can reach out and grab your anchors in life). Will you ever be able to bench press 350 lbs-will you ever sell 18 cars per month? Sure you can..gradually. To increase your strength, you must gradually add more weight. As you add more weight, your body works through the soreness until a new normal is found. In much the same way, you must gradually add new weights of productivity to your daily regimen. (i.e. Old month: 6 cars per month x 25% increase = 7.5 new month sales. Old month: 6 sales @ 20% close ratio = 30 ups vs. New month: 7.5 sales x 20% close ratio = 37.5 ups. Can you find 8 more customers in 25 days?) During this process, your mind and body are going to go bonkers in an effort to seek comfort-your mind will tell you to relax and your body will speak through soreness to ease up, but if you are unyielding in your efforts (you only need 8 more customers!), a new normal will be found. Once the new normal is found, you must keep increasing the weight until you achieve your goals. (Achieved goal: 7.5 sales x 25% = New goal: 9.5 sales. That’s only 10 more prospects. You can’t find 10 more prospects in 25 days?)

Your goal should be just out of reach, yet still in sight so when you do hit a tough day or challenging week, you’re less likely to become discouraged and revert back to your old ways, because your goal is still within reach.

Averages were meant to exceed, not succumb to. Use your averages as the floor, not the ceiling. When you do, you’ll achieve lasting, elevating success. I’ll see you next time on the blacktop.

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