New-Year_Resolutions_listAs you’re planning for 2014, forget resolutions. Set manageable goals instead.

The New Year’s resolutions checklists are the same every year—mostly about eating healthier, losing weight, and managing our finances better.

The media is flooded with articles about resolutions right now. Our inboxes are crowded with email marketing messages chock-full of New Year’s resolution products and programs. (I Googled “New Year’s Resolutions” and got nearly 45 million results.)

That’s a lot of intellectual energy directed at resolutions most of us will dump or forget about by the end of January.

So it should come as no surprise that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions—especially about something as important as my business. Instead I create manageable goals for myself and my team.

As you’re planning for 2014, don’t just give your sales team an annual quota and expect them to make it rain. Give them manageable goals to meet each week or month.

Forget Shaking the Trees

When looking for new business, many sales organizations shake the trees and see what falls off. That’s not a dependable or prudent sales strategy. Yet, many businesses actually work this way. So when they suddenly find themselves with no pipeline, the only thing they can do is reach out to grab some low-hanging fruit. This kind of business planning is not sustainable. In fact, it’s just plain stupid.

Don’t get me wrong. I dislike planning just as much as the next sales professional. But it’s the old-school planning I hate—page after page of forecasts, analysis, and number crunching. That’s why I suggest keeping it short (just one or two pages). Set your customer and sales goals for each quarter and for the year. And create goals for your team.

Your No. 1 Goal: Referrals

The most critical element of your sales plan is the referral-selling goal. When you fully commit to referral selling, invest in a referral training program for your team, and eliminate unproductive prospecting techniques, your reps will get meetings with prospects who want to meet them, and they’ll convert those leads into new clients more than 50 percent of the time. Even more exciting, with referral selling, you’ll reduce your cost of sales and shorten the time it takes to obtain new clients.

Now, that makes for a happy, productive new year!

Comment Here

What referral-selling goals have you set for your team in 2014?