Subscribe to the Podcast now on Apple Podcasts!
Are you a top sales performer or looking to improve your skills? If so, join the elite Institute for Excellence in Sales!
EPISODE 161: Tips that Will Help You Successfully Reassess Your 2019 Sales Goals from “The Goal Tender” Author Shawn Doyle
SHAWN’S FINAL TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “What’s really critically important about achieving your goals is to write them down and have them displayed so that every single day, several times a day you pull those goals out or you look on your wall or your board and you actually are reviewing your goals on a daily basis.”
Shawn Doyle is best-selling author of 22 books on leadership, motivation and sales excellence.
In 2018, he published The Goal Tender. It’s an exceptional guide to help sales professionals set an effective course.
Learn more about his books here.
Today’s Special Episode focused on the importance of setting sales goals to really get your career to the place where you want it to be, really exceed and really get far.
Find Shawn on LinkedIn!
Shawn Doyle: I think goal setting is interesting because I travel around the country as a speaker and a trainer and a book author and a consultant, and I guess the thing I’m really puzzled by or amazed by – I’m not sure exactly what words to use – is that I meet so many people that don’t have any goals at all. As a sales professional, I think it’s so important to really have defined targeted goals because as I always say, you can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is. That’s what we’re talking about today.
Fred Diamond: The average salesperson is going to have a quota. Do they think that’s enough?
Shawn Doyle: It is, a quota certainly is a goal but the problem with a quota I think are two things: one is quotas are imposed as opposed to volunteered and I also think that quotas are often the minimum expectation that the company expects you to meet in order to keep your job. For all the amazing people that listen to this podcast, I think that they don’t want to be average, they want to be extraordinary. I always say that quotas actually are a terrible thing for goals, that whatever the company sets as your quota you should just tear it up and say, “That’s just the minimum expectation, I want to go way beyond the minimum expectation.” I actually believe to say, “Okay, that’s my quota, that’s fine but my personal mission, my personal goal is going to be much higher than that, maybe 10 times the quota that the company gave me.”
Fred Diamond: I took you off on a little track there but you said at the beginning that you go around the country and speak all over the place around the world and you’re stunned at why people don’t set goals. What are some of the reasons? You probably work with great teams and great performers, why would they not have goals? Especially when there’s so much available out there, if you were to Google, “How do I reach my goals?” I’m sure there’d be billions of pages if not hundreds and millions.
Shawn Doyle: It’s amazing and I think that the main reasons that I hear are one, is fear which I find an interesting one. When I say, “Fear of what?” “If I don’t achieve the goal, then I’ve failed.” I’m like, “If you don’t set a goal, you’re going to fail anyway. What’s the difference? You just failed, you didn’t know it.” Another one is people say that people may be lazy, that they don’t want to take the time, effort, energy to set goals but that same person will spend a year planning a vacation to Disney World, but they won’t spend two minutes planning their life so this is kind of interesting. Fear, laziness and the other is complacency and I think a danger for all of us is getting into that comfort zone where we just go, “Everything’s fine” but two years later you wake up and you’re like, “What happened? I was just being fine but now I’m not where I need to be.” The three I hear the most are fear, complacency and laziness.
Fred Diamond: A lot of people listening to the Sales Game Changers podcast around the globe listen to the podcast because they want to take their career to the next level. Either they’re a sales leader who knows they could be doing more and better or they’re maybe a junior sales professional who wants to achieve as much success as they possible can. Why is goal setting important?
Shawn Doyle: I think it’s critically important and when we study the most successful people in the world, for example if you read the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, you find that about 85% of people in the book do have clearly written, articulated goals, they review them every day. I think in order to be successful you have to have goals, and also I’m very strong and passionate about the idea that they need to be in writing because when we look at the research, we see that the brain – and everybody’s heard “Left Brain, Right Brain” that was made popular by Roger Sperry back in the 60’s and 70’s. The idea is if we just talk about a goal it’s the right set of our brain but if we write it down we now have the left side of our brain so now we have whole brain engagement which drives the horsepower to make much more powerful tool for achieving your goals. I think you need to have goals, I think you need to put them in writing and I think you need to look at them on a regular and consistent basis.
Fred Diamond: Be more specific about writing, a lot of people use their phones for all types of communication, for email, for note taking, etcetera. Does that work? Tell us more what you mean by writing.
Shawn Doyle: It’s interesting, Fred because as I travel around the country people often go, “Writing? What’s writing? That’s so analog.” There’s actually a lot of scientific research that indicates that the physical act of writing is much more effective than a laptop or desktop or a phone because when we pull out a piece of paper and we write on paper it activates something in our brain called the reticular activating system. The reticular activating system is a bundle of nerves at the bottom of our brain and it’s the filter that determines what we pay attention to. What the research is showing is if I take a piece of paper and I write it down it’s actually activating this part of my brain reticular activating system so then the rest of the time, because I’ve written it down, my brain is looking at what to pay attention to. It’s almost like I’m much more focused with my brain if I’ve told my brain this is what I want to focus on. Then everything I see past that point I notice, I note, I learn, I read, I study. Writing it down really has a huge impact on the ability to achieve a goal.
Fred Diamond: Let’s go through the process. Writing them down, of course I guess before you even write them down you have to think about what will be an appropriate goal. Tell us some of the components of not just achieving the goal but what an exceptional goal might be. You just said, “Sell more” obviously or, “Make more money” or something, that’s not very specific. You brain probably can’t even react to something like that. First of all, let’s start with what is an effective goal.
Shawn Doyle: I think that’s a great question and I think there’s a couple things. It’s funny because usually at the beginning of the year people set New Year’s resolutions which I always chuckle, because generally speaking most resolutions fail miserably and one of the reasons they fail is lack of specificity. Somebody says, “I want to be healthy” and I’m like, “Good, you want to be healthy. What does that mean?” “To be healthy.” I’m like, “But what does that mean? You want to lose weight, do you want to increase your body in terms of cardiovascular, do you want to reduce your body fat percentage?”
I think the first thing is make sure that your goal is very specific because the generality of a resolution is why it fails but if we say, “I want to be healthy, meaning I’m going to weigh this weight, I’m going to get this body fat percentage, I’m going to have this waist size” that’s specificity and we need to put in three things. A lot of people talk about smart goals which I hear everywhere. SMART goals, S-M-A-R-T, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely and some people change the words around depending on the letter. I’m actually a big huge anti-fan of SMART goals for two reasons. Specific, no doubt, they need to be specific. Measurable, no doubt, which means we need to put a number on it. Timely is we need to say, “By quarter one”, “By quarter two”, “By March the 31st”, no doubt about that.
The two words I have a problem with in the SMART goal formula is the A which is achievable because my question is you could get 10 people in a room and say, “Was that achievable?” and five of the people would say no, and five of the people would say yes. Achievable is a factor used to limit performance. “That’s not achievable.” People told Elon Musk that about you can’t launch a rocket and have it come back to Earth, he thinks it’s achievable so he achieved it. The other thing is the whole idea of realistic, “That’s not realistic.” I’ve written 22 books in 15 years, that’s not realistic or maybe it is. I think what I would focus on the goals would be SMT which is probably SMIT, sounds like somebody’s name, “Hi, Smit”, to focus on the Specific, the Measurable and the Time bound.
Fred Diamond: We talked before about the why of your goal. You write down your goal, let’s say to be specific, “I want to achieve 5 new accounts that are over a million dollars in 2019.” Let’s just say that is my goal, if you will. We talked about the why, talk about what the why means in context of achieving your goals.
Shawn Doyle: If we get to writing down the goals, that’s step one. Step two is we have the specific, measurable and timely but the other thing is I think you really need to give deep thought as to why you want to achieve the goal. Let’s say I’m making 350 and I want to make $500 thousand dollars a year. That’s wonderful, everybody would love that but then the question is why? “I want to have financial stability”, “I want to have financial security”, “I want to pay for my child’s college education”, “I want to buy a beach house”, whatever it happens to be. If you can take a goal and then say to yourself, “This is a goal to increase revenue from this to this or to increase my compensation from this to this” if you can ask yourself why, it’s much more powerful.
Just this morning a gentleman said, “I want to make this money because I want to pay for my two grandkids’ college education.” That’s much more powerful than saying, “I want to make half a million dollars a year.” If you say why, “I want to help a charity”, whatever it is, tie an emotional component to the goal is something extremely powerful. Also, if we can tie an emotion to the goal, the emotion of love or the emotion of pride or the emotion of feeling like you’ve accomplished something or the feeling of making a difference or a legacy, that’s an emotional component tied to the goal which makes it even that much more powerful.
Fred Diamond: When we were talking before, you talked about 9 different categories of where you should be focusing your goals. We don’t need to go through all 9 of them right now, but as it relates to Sales Game Changers, of course you have sales and financial and things like that. One of them that struck me was health. You’re talking about how you need to be conscious of health goals if you want to be a high performing sales professional. Talk about why that’s important, it may not seem totally intuitive, but why would I want to have specific health related goals if I want to become an optimal Sales Game Changer?
Shawn Doyle: It’s a question that sometimes people scratch their head about, I mentioned the 9 categories of goals and one of them is related to health and fitness. “I’m a sales professional, why do I have to be healthy and fit?” I just want to make this clear, I’m not saying you have to be a supermodel because I don’t want to give people that impression but the idea is that if you’re healthy and you’re fit, you’re going to naturally have more energy. You’re naturally going to have more confidence and I think when you walk in to meet me because I was a buyer at one point of my life, when I shake your hand I’m going to go, “This person’s impressive.” The energy, the confidence that you bring to the table that you believe in yourself is going to be much higher than the fact that you have energy and enthusiasms can be much higher because Brian Tracy, the famous book author and speaker once said that selling is a transfer of enthusiasm.
I find that people that are healthier and people that are fit, that work out and are careful about their nutrition have a higher level of energy so when they meet with someone who’s a buyer, the buyer’s going to be like, “This person’s really energetic and enthusiastic about their product, about themselves and about their company.”
Fred Diamond: Let’s go back to goals before we take a short break here. Do you coach people to push their goals up a notch or two? Let’s say for the one example, I want to create five new accounts for more than a million dollars. What would you say to me? Would you say, “Good job, Fred, great.” Of course you’re going to say, “Why?” and “How?” but would you come back to me and say, “How about ten?”
Shawn Doyle: It’s funny, I was meeting with a salesperson for lunch, he’s a good friend of mine. He said, “It’s October and I made my goal for the year, I made a million dollars.” I’m like, “Okay, what are you going to do for the year?” and he’s like, “A million dollars, I made my quota.” “No, but you’ve got two more months. Why don’t you do a million and five, why don’t you do two million?” He said, “If I do two million, Shawn, they will expect me to do 2.2 next year.” I’m like, “And the problem with that would be what?” I think most people are minimizing their goals and what they need to do is maximize their goals.
What I often do is an activity where I have people write down their goals and I go back and say, “Take your number, I want you scratch it out and I want you to double it or triple it or multiply it times 10” because your brain believes what you tell it. If you walk around saying, “I’m going to do a million this year”, that’s when your brain will go, “Okay, that’s what we’ll do” but if you say, “I’m going to do 10 million this year” then your brain can find ways to do that. Don’t limit your potential, the biggest problem that I see with people across America – and this is in every profession – is the limitation that society or other people have set for them. They need to raise the bar and say, “What if I did 10 million a year? I’d be the salesperson of the century in my company if I did 10 million a year.” Why not?
Fred Diamond: This is the Sales Game Changers podcast, my name is Fred Diamond. We’re talking to best-selling author of 22 books, Shawn Doyle. Shawn, before we take a break, tell us some of the titles of some of the books. What are some of the books that you’ve written that you’re most proud of?
Shawn Doyle: My latest book is called The Goal Tender and I wrote that because I’m very passionate about the fact that a lot of people don’t have goals. I just wrote a very simple book about all the things we’re talking about, and it’s an analogy of tending a garden. If you’re going to be successful you have to have goals, but you have to tend to them just like tending to your garden you have to tend to your goals so I called it The Goal Tender. That’s been a very popular title.
Fred Diamond: We’ll put a link to that book on the show notes. Again, we’re going to be transcribing like we always do every episode of the Sales Game Changers podcast, you can read the complete transcription, we’ll tell you where you can get that at the end of the podcast and we’ll provide a link to the book. We’re going to take a short break, when we come back from the break we’re going to ask Shawn for some of the language that you want to be conscious of when you write your goals and we’re also going to ask him for some of his tips on how you can take your sales career to the next level. My name is Fred Diamond talking to Shawn Doyle, best-selling author of over 22 books, you’re working on a 23rd right now, correct?
Shawn Doyle: Correct.
Fred Diamond: I’m almost done my book, by the way. I’m reading one right now. We’re going to take a short break, listen to one of our sponsors. When we come back, we’re going to ask Shawn for his tips on how you can take your sales career to the next level.
Fred Diamond: Let’s talk about the language, for example, I was talking to you about one of my goals. I said I’m going to try to triple my business next year and you coached me on using the word “try”. Let’s talk about some words that people should remove from their language in order to be as effective as possible.
Shawn Doyle: I think there’s a lot of words that we’re not consciously aware of and I call them psychological escape hatches. I do a lot of executive coaching and a lot of times when I’m doing executive coaching somebody says, “I would like to be the CEO” and I’m like, “You would like to be the CEO?” “I would like to be” “I’m going to be.” There’s words like “like” and “try” and “I hope” and “if only” and “I’d like to be.” Eliminate all those, cross them out, become Yoda, “There’s no try, only do.” Just mark them out and change them to words like “I will”, “I’m going to”, active words that assume that you’ve already done it and you’re going to do it because you don’t want to give yourself that kind of escape hatch. Even today I heard some folks talking in groups like, “I’m going to try this” and I stopped them, “I’m sorry, what did you say? Did you say try?” “I’m going to try.” “Why don’t you just do it?” “I will.”
I think part of the point here is we have to be aware of what we’re saying out loud and we need to be aware of what we’re saying to ourselves because society has a lot of negative people who will insert those messages, you then adopt them and they become your own mean and you say them over and over. You don’t even realize you’re saying it, you’ve got to go, “No, I’m going to, I’m not going to try to.”
Fred Diamond: Along the lines of that, one of my favorite quotes is the Jim Rohn quote that you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.
Shawn Doyle: I love Jim Rohn.
Fred Diamond: He’s great, may he rest in peace. Tell us about how you should build a support network, or what type of support should you be putting into play to achieve these goals that we’re setting high for us to achieve.
Shawn Doyle: Something very powerful is to have accountability partners when you set a goal and the problem is that some people when they set accountability partners, they pick people who are negative and toxic. I call them Energy Sucking Vampires, ESV’s and we don’t want to surround ourselves with ESV’s. What we want to surround ourselves is with EBC’s, which stands for Energy Building Champion. All of my friends, as crazy as it sounds, are all positive, upbeat, optimistic, energetic people. They’re Energy Building Champions and when I tell them about something they’re like, “That’s a great idea, you can do it, go for it, you’re going to crush it.”
I don’t want to hear, “That’s not realistic and that wouldn’t work” so I literally have eliminated all Energy Sucking Vampires from my life. I didn’t kill them, that would be illegal in most states. What I’ve done is I’ve just gotten rid of them and that sounds a little cruel, but again I do believe that the quality of your life is in direct correlation to the quality of your relationships.
Fred Diamond: Last thing before we ask you for your final tip. You mentioned accountability partner, talk to me and talk to our audience about what that type of relationship should look like for you to achieve the goals that you’re setting.
Shawn Doyle: That’s a great question. Seven years ago I lost 54 pounds – and I want to keep it off – and when I was going through my weight loss journey I deputized my brother. He wanted to lose weight, I wanted to lose weight so we became accountability partners. Once a week we would either have a phone call or an email and we’d say, “How much did you lose?” “Didn’t lose any.” “Okay, what do you need to change?” “I lost two” “Congratulations” “I lost three” “Awesome” By being able to have someone who will hold you accountable or you hold them accountable you now have a support system that can help you reinforce your goals.
A lot of my executive coaching clients say, “I did my action plans because I knew I was going to have to call you next week and I didn’t want to call and say I didn’t do anything.” It’s like somebody’s holding your feet to the fire going, “I expect you to do your action plans, how come you didn’t do them?” And you don’t want to call somebody or talk to somebody and say why I didn’t do them because then you feel responsible to them. It really increases the power of goals if you can have somebody help hold you accountable and vice versa.
Fred Diamond: Again, we talked on today’s Sales Game Changers podcast with Shawn Doyle, best-selling author of 22 books, his 23rd is coming out soon. We’re talking about goal setting for Sales Game Changers, we talked about the how, the why, the tracking, we talked about the language that you use. Shawn, I have one final question for you. One of the themes that comes up here is the whole concept of the comfort zone using words like “I’m going to try.” If you don’t achieve it but you tried or keeping yourself easy to achieve type goals if you will, and we talked about the need to push. A lot of the people that we interview on the Sales Game Changers podcast have had 20, 30 years of tremendous success and they even want to take their careers to the next level. We’ve had people who regularly make a million dollars a year leading sales teams for large companies, startups, great companies. Give us some final thoughts on what the listeners really should be doing. Be as prescriptive as possible so the Sales Game Changers listening to today’s podcast cannot just write down great goals but will achieve those goals when they’re due.
Shawn Doyle: I would say one is we’ve talked about writing down the goals, having the why and the how and the measurement and the specificity and the time, but I think what’s really critically important is to write them down and have them displayed so that every single day, several times a day you pull those goals out or you look on your wall or your board and you actually are reviewing your goals on a daily basis. I believe that every day there’s opportunities that come up and you have to evaluate those opportunities whether they’re helping you move closer to your goals or not.
What I find that people often do is they write their goals down, they put it in a file and they never look at it for a year. The focus is lost, the RAS shuts down because it’s like, “I wasn’t reminded what I was suppose do focus on.” The key thing about focus is to have it right in front of you whether it’s on your phone, wherever it may be, but constantly reminding you of what it is you’re focusing on. “We’re going to the moon” “Okay, what do I need to do to get to the moon? I need to do the following.” Have those, and then the second thing would be just stop minimizing your level of success. “Why couldn’t I do 10 million instead of a million?” The only thing holding you back is your thinking, you have the talent, the ability and the resources. The only thing holding you back is your thinking.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo
Produced by Rosario Suarez