Sandler Training: Want Sales Success? SET GOALS! (Part 1)

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When I interview sales candidates, I always ask the question, “Do you set goals?”  Every candidate I have spoken to responses with, “Yes I do.”  When I ask the candidate if I can see the list of goals, I have yet to have a candidate produce the list.  Truth is almost all salespeople do not set meaningful goals that drive behavior leading to greater performance and accomplishment and of all professions out there, it is the sales professional that needs what goal-setting brings.  Most will have top-of-mind goals that are vague, intangible and do not qualify as meaningful.  If we are to leverage goal-setting such that we perform at higher levels, then we must be deliberate in our effort to set goals and set aside the time required to do it properly.  Since we are coming to the end of the year, now is the perfect time to get started to prepare for next year.  Here is the Sandler Goal Setting ten step process:

STEP #1:  We call this the Life-Line exercise.  Draw a line on a piece of paper.  The left end-point represents when you were born, the right end-point represents when you will die.  (It is good to embrace that our life is not permanent.)  Place a dot on the line that represents today and then scratch out all line that is left of the dot.  That time is gone.  The time you have left is the time we will work with to accomplish all your goals.  Now you should have a healthy sense of urgency to get going on achieving ALL your dreams.

STEP #2:  Write out on a sheet of paper all the dreams you have regardless of how crazy they may sound.  Examples might include: own a vacation home, earn more money, bike ride across USA, put in a new swimming pool, finish an Ironman triathlon, get kids through college debt free, etc.  Whatever you want before you leave this world write down on your dream list.

STEP #3:  Take seven sheets of paper and on each, put one of the following goal categories at the top:  Spiritual, Family, Career, Health, Financial, Mental, and Social.  Goals should never be one-dimensional if we are to have success.  We must look at the whole person.  If you just set business goals, which is typically what happens at the annual corporate strategy/planning retreat, and forget the personal side, even if you hit the business goals, what is lacking on the personal side will trump any success you might have on the business side.

STEP #4:  Using your dream list from STEP #2 as the idea source, begin to list goals in each category that you would like to accomplish in the next calendar year.  Example; if traveling to Europe is on the dream list, the goal for next year in the Financial category would be to open new saving account and deposit $200 each month for a total savings of $2,400 which will go toward the cost of the dream trip.  If running a marathon is on the dream list, the goal for next year in the Health category would be to begin an exercise plan designed to get you in shape for the long run.

STEP #5:  Develop a master list of goals for the upcoming year by taking the top three goals from each category and writing them in the master list.  Make sure each category is represented in the master list.  This ensures that your goals have balance and covers the whole person.
These first five steps will help you get started in being very deliberate with your goal setting for the upcoming year.  Work on these steps and next month, we will finish the list.  If you would like to kick start your goal setting for the upcoming year, join us for the Sandler Goal Setting Seminar in November.


Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies.

For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at  You can also follow his blog at

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