No-Goals Today…See Amazing Results Tomorrow!
Fenton & Andrea Waltz
It’s 11:35 a .m. on Monday and Chris Wilkerson is smiling. Having
completed his second sales call of the day, he finds himself
two-for-two; two appointments, two sales! As he strides toward his
car, having hit his goal for the week, he dials his cell phone to
reserve a 1:00 p.m. tee time for an unexpected but well-deserved
round of golf. And in the blink of an eye, a great day begins to
take a quick slide toward an average week, all because Chris started
his process by setting the wrong goals.
The Problem with Traditional Goal Setting: Everyone knows the
importance of setting goals. The problem is in the type of
goals people set. Many salespeople operate with what are commonly
called, “Yes-Goals”… number-specific goals for the amount of times
prospects say, “yes.” This approach – while it’s the one we’ve all
been taught to use and follow – is significantly flawed for one main
reason. Once we achieve the objective, we tend to divert our
attention to other tasks or reward ourselves for our success. And
how do we reward ourselves; by slowing down, taking a day off,
playing golf, or catching up on paperwork. There is a better
approach that can dramatically increase the performance of anyone
who employs it; that approach is to:
Stop setting Yes-Goals and start setting No-Goals: In other
words, stop setting goals for the number of sales you intend to
close or dollars you want to generate, and start setting goals for
the specific number of prospects who say, “no” to you. Operate with
a failure quota rather than a success quota. Admittedly, the
process of setting No-Goals requires a radical change in thinking.
While the concept can be difficult to embrace initially, the results
can be immediate and dramatic.
The Inherent Pitfall with Performance Quotas: You need only
to look up the word “quota” in the dictionary to see the problem.
“Quota” is defined as “a proportional
share” which makes sense; everyone should be responsible for his or
her proportional share. However, the definition goes on to say,
“the highest number or proportion.”
Therein lies the problem. Most people
treat their quota as a shut-down mechanism – the ceiling of their
performance – rather than the floor it is intended to be. That’s
the insidious thing about quotas; they often end up limiting
sales rather than propelling sales upward. Maybe the worst part
of Chris’ example is he’s just ended what is commonly referred to as
a hot streak! So how does setting No-Goals make a difference?
Again, let’s take Chris’ situation and see how No-Goals would have
changed the outcome.
What Chris Should Have Done: With a two-for-two start, the
first thing Chris should have done is take advantage of his
momentum! After all, when you’re hot, you’re hot! And the last
thing you should do in the midst of a hot streak is slow down, or
even worse, stop! Having set clearly established No-Goals would
have helped Chris avoid this.
Instead of starting with a two-sale goal for the week, Chris would
have set the No-Goal of gathering twelve rejections. After going
two-for-two, Chris would have found himself saying, “Wow! Monday is
half over and I haven’t gotten a single “no” yet! I’ve got to step
up the number of calls if I’m going to get to twelve for the week!”
If this were the case – where as before Chris’s success would have
led to a decreased number of calls for the week – the same success
will now lead to an increased number of calls. Chances are good
Chris will obliterate his quota for the week, and if he keeps it up,
for the month, quarter and the year as well! That’s the power of
The Great Irony of Business and Life: This points to one of
the great ironies in business (and life); having too great of an
emphasis on achieving success can lead to failure, while placing a
greater emphasis on increasing your failure can often lead to
massive success! Success can often become our greatest enemy, for
with success comes complacency. As Ben Franklin said, “Success has
ruined many a man!”
Is this to
suggest that salespeople should ditch their success quotas
entirely? Perhaps. In fact, there are many top performers who
never set traditional “yes” goals, opting instead to focus solely on
the behaviors needed to generate results. They understand that the
act of setting Yes-Goals and/or quotas of any kind may – consciously
or unconsciously – could become a self-fulfilling prophecy, placing
artificial limits on their income and their performance.
Face it: Few managers plan to shift from years of traditional
quota-setting in favor of a behavior-based process like No-Goals.
So, when you get your next quota handed to you, look at it … smile …
and set it aside in favor of aggressive No-Goals for the number of
times you plan to fail. When you shift your focus to achieving your
No-Goals, the results – the yeses – will come. They always do!
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