How To Achieve Your Goals

Don’t worry this isn’t a rehashing of SMART Goals – for goodness sake if you want more about that do a Google search (I got “About 6,130,000 results” in 0.24 seconds). I’m going to make an assumption that if you’re reading this you know how to set a goal; what you want to know is how to achieve it!

Here are my 3 simple steps to achieving your goals.

  1. Figure out what the FIRST small step you need to take to get momentum is
  2. Do it
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2: over & over & over again…. until you reach your goal

Remember though “just because it’s simple doesn’t make it easy” ~ Lynn Hidy (don’t you hate when people quote themselves).

Now for all the stuff I think is more important to think about:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

That is on a piece of steal that sits on my desk, right below my monitor. Why? I need the reminder to be fearless when I start to move forward toward my goals. It is so easy to stop MYSELF by:

  • playing the “what if” game
  • expend energy on worry (the most useless activity in the universe – my opinion only of course)
  • prefer to do nothing than do the wrong thing (ok so for me that isn’t the issue, but it is for some of my clients)

Action Item #1 = figure out what your stumbling blocks are and work on overcoming them

Do one new thing each day; by the end of a year you’ll be a true innovator!

That is a quote by Nancy A Shenker of that is on the calendar for January 1st. I can’t think of a better quote to start off the year. For inside sales that may not be as difficult as you think!

  • Ask a new question
  • Talk with prospects & customers about products you don’t typically sell
  • Call on a job title that you typically wouldn’t

I could probably get through the whole year with just those three over and over again…

Action Item #2 = do something new every single day

To grow fast, fail fast. Failure is an opportunity to get things right the next time.

That quote is from January 2nd of the same calendar, from Rigdha Acharya of I know it seems like the reverse of my ‘What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?’ mantra but it is actually completely unrelated to me.

What it makes me think about are all the lessons that can be learned by NOT winning deals:

  • What is really important to the prospect organization
  • Questions I didn’t think to ask that I need to incorporate moving forward
  • Was I chasing business that wasn’t in my core competencies

Action Item #3 = make sure that every failure is evaluated for the lesson

Now you have BOTH my simple 3 step process along with 3 more complicated action items to make it work for you. That way when you finish out the year you can look back at your goals – see achievement – celebrate your success!

Don’t let EXTRAORDINARY become ordinary

Have you let EXTRAORDINARY become ordinary?

You know the services that you offered and the first time your customer was absolutely thrilled, the second time they were happy, now they just expect it.

Once = an exception
Twice = a favor
Thrice = standard

The funny thing is that as people we don’t even notice it happening. Yet I received multiple responses to this month’s A Chip off the Block – Gorilla Edition when I wrote “I never buy anything at Macy’s without a 20% off coupon, they’ve trained me that if I wait a little while it will show up in the mail.” 20% off is now standard price, the customer doesn’t even see it as a discount.

One email said “So true!! I won’t shop at Macy’s w/o my 20% coupon!

Now I need you to consider – if as people we don’t notice it until it’s pointed out, it isn’t hard to see why salespeople don’t notice it either!

That brightly packaged present you’ve been handing over without ceremony or enthusiasm is like getting a cardboard box for your birthday without any singing, cards, noise makers or confetti. Where’s the EXTRAORDINARY in that?

There isn’t any – it is just plane ordinary without the EXTRA.

Never forget that what gives that birthday present the EXTRA is:

  • the though behind the gift
  • it’s timing
  • that it only happens once a year
  • how special you feel receiving it
  • the enthusiasm of the person giving it
  • gifts are an exception

Which leads us back to our customers (because when we are talking about prospects – it’s all new and feels special to them if we’re doing a good job).

All those things you did to earn their business…

  1. are you still doing them?
  2. do they still matter… ie: have a high level of importance to the client?
  3. what would happen if you STOPPED doing them?

Are you still doing them?

It’s funny to me how hard someone will work to EARN new business but then stop doing all those things that got them the customer.

Here’s a story for you: this guy Matt really wanted to work as an inside salesperson for a company…. so he researched, networked, interviewed THREE separate times, stalked the manager, and finally based on tenacity 1st and foremost… earned himself the job.

Then, didn’t show that same drive, dedication, OR tenacity after getting hired. Yup, he didn’t make it a year before he was fired.

Which customers have you let down by not showing up as the salesperson who earned their business in the 1st place?

Do they still matter?

Another tactical error is continuing to do business the same way without investigating how the landscape has changed. What was important when you earned their business – today may be insignificant.

We keep doing things as habit that may no longer get us the result we’re looking for.

Take your commute for example; if there is construction, going the same way to work will take longer – be more frustrating – and may not even get you there. For most of us that drive is habit and we don’t think about it.

When long term construction occurs, I’d challenge that you’ll end up STUCK in it multiple times before they finish – all because going that way has worked more times than not, so we drive without thinking.

Talk about their business & process to make sure you are relevant.

what would happen if you STOPPED doing them?

Here we are back to the problem with ordinary. If you asked a customer what they find  EXTRAORDINARY it may not be what you think.

#1 if it has become the 20% off coupon – they expect it and would notice if you stopped BUT it is ordinary.

#2 what is important to many of my clients are the things I ‘just do’, which means they will be noticed if I stop doing it BUT I might not recognize it as extraordinary.

Today ask your customers for the top 5 reasons they continue to work with you. Then ask again… and again… and again.

Keep the EXTRA in what makes you EXTRAORDINARY!

Action and Expertise combine to create Success – on Success

Action & Expertise combine to create Success… be sure you’re taking one, building the second, and defining the third for yourself! @upyourtelesales

Yesterday was all about Expertise – today lets talk about Success.

  • and defining the third for yourself

Success is an interesting thing; if you are judging your own success by looking at other people you are doing yourself a disservice. Yup – when you measure success in your career and life vs. other people you’ve got it all wrong.

What I’m telling you to do is look at your life ONLY and decide what will indicate success to you! Then go for it.

Is that a foreign concept? Well here are some examples, in no particular order, of answers some clients have given me when we are working on this:

  1. freedom
  2. financial security
  3. comfort for my family
  4. lack of worry

Why did I pick those four to share? It is because they don’t look like typical ‘salesperson success factors’. Most people expect some of the other answers I do hear:

  1. hit my goal for the year
  2. increase my paycheck
  3. earn insert award here
  4. be in the top 10

What may interest you is that when I hear the traditional answers, I ask What will that do for YOU? Which is when I get the answers from the first list, and yes – the answers match up 1 to 1, 2 to 2, 3 to 3, 4 to 4 between the two lists.

Yes that’s right; the answers are from the same salesperson!

When you’re deciding what success is, go past the surface and figure out the deeper result you are looking for in your life!

Action and Expertise combine to create Success – on Expertise

Action & Expertise combine to create Success… be sure you’re taking one, building the second, and defining the third for yourself! @upyourtelesales

Yesterday was all about Action – today lets talk about


  • building the second,

This is where we make sure our actions will move us in the right direction! That the steps we’re taking move us forward. That what we do every day makes us BETTER at finding opportunities, defining & qualifying them, then earning their business.

Malcolm Gladwell talks a lot about expertise in his book The Outliers, mentioning time and time again that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert – regardless of your field. I don’t disagree at all, but would like to add that you have to be practicing the RIGHT things.

Practice makes permanent ~ David Dolbear

Imagine if a ballerina practiced ‘en pointe’ incorrectly – not only would it not be graceful, she would probably hurt herself. The more incorrect practice the worse the injury would be PLUS it certainly isn’t making her into a prima ballerina.

Now that we’ve determined that we need to practice the right stuff – here is a breakdown of what 10,000 of practice AT WORK might look like:

  • 40 hours x 50 weeks (see I’m giving you vacation time) = 2000 hours/year
  • minus the 2 hrs/day we aren’t really working… leaves us with 1500 hours/year
  • of that 1500 hours – we might be focusing 1/2 the time = 750 hours/year
  • rounding DOWN – it will take us 13 YEARS to become an expert

Have you ever looked at it that way? Even if you add an extra hour each week of working toward expertise it nocks off a chunk of time to achieve expert status.

An extra 24 MINUTES each day will bring that time to 12 years instead of 13 (if you really do the math it is 11.76 yrs vs. 13.33 but who’s keeping track). For some people that would mean popping in an educational CD instead of listening to talk radio on their commute each day.

Add to that reading a sales book or *gasp* two, each year and there you are an expert!

Every single day if we are working to be a little better at what we do. Taking tiny steps forward toward expertise, you’ll be amazed at how quickly mastery will come.

Give yourself a leg up on the competition – spend 24 minutes today getting better at your craft, then come back tomorrow for Success.

Action and Expertise combine to create Success – on Action

This was a tweet I posted September 14th that keeps coming back into my head:

Action & Expertise combine to create Success… be sure you’re taking one, building the second, and defining the third for yourself! @upyourtelesales


  • be sure you’re taking one,

Currently I’m annoyed every time someone says “Work Smarter, not Harder.”

Why? because I truly believe the phrase was made for people who were already working hard! Today though it seems to be an excuse not to put in effort and take action.

I was doing a sales training program at a company and heard a salesperson say that who had been wandering around, getting coffee, chatting away with co-workers. BLECH – what that person needed to do was sit back down in their chair and dial the phone. Although I guess that is certainly smarter than what they were doing.

To misquote David Sandler, or perhaps Pete Morrissey the guy who taught me to sell to begin with – successful salespeople do the things unsuccessful salespeople fail to do.

The most basic of those things in telesales is to dial the phone – it is the foundation of everything else we do. Don’t confuse this idea with brute force (expertise is the next section after all) but without dialing the phone how will you talk to a human?

If you don’t talk to a human – how will you have a conversation? Perhaps even about business, their industry, or your product (crazy).

Which of course is how we find business opportunity – then talk some more to define it and qualify if we’re the best choice.

When we are the best choice… we sell stuff! To channel my inner soccer fan “S-C-O-R-Ehorns blowing, flags waving.

So sit down in your chair and dial that phone! Come back tomorrow for: Expertise

Movement – Action – Effort

It is always funny to me when people spend lots of time, energy, and resources to create the perfect plan… then never put in the effort it will take to implement it.

Movement = Action

To ensure that you are always moving forward toward your goals, you need to take action to make them happen.

The best career, sales, or account plan is useless if action isn’t taken. There can be no momentum – without movement and no movement until you (yes you) take action.

Action = Effort

What does do you need to do to take action? Put in effort – yes I’m talking about the evil idea that work ethic counts.

I’ve come to despise the saying “don’t work harder, work smarter”. I believe that phrase initially was said to people who were already working as hard as they could… needing to find better ways to work hard to move forward more quicly!

Now it is said as an excuse not to work hard in the 1st place. I’m here to remind you that it is going to take 10,000 hours of concerted effort to become an expert at what you do (according to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers) and that is whatever you do.

“Practice Makes Permanent” ~ David Dolbear

This is a saying that my Taijiquan instructor always uses. Making sure that the effort we put in, is getting us to the result we are looking for. Let’s face it, if you use bad techniques (in sales or taijiquan) over and over and over again – you aren’t moving forward toward your goal, rather you’re creating bad habits that will hinder your success.

Look at your plan and consider – what effort will I put in today to take action on my plan and begin the forward movement I need to reach my goal?