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Planning to Realize Your Goals

By Shamus Brown
Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Recently, I wrote about about creating specific, compelling goals that pull you towards what you want in your business, career and life.

It is important to have a goal written down, and it is equally as important to the write down the reasons why you want that specific goal. The drive to accomplish your goal is in the reasons why you want it.

With a specific goal in mind you have your target, and by being conscious of your reasons, you will maintain the drive to accomplish it. The final thing you need is a plan.

Some people are natural planners. They are able to look out over time into the future and visualize the actions and events that need to happen in order to get what they want.

For some of us though, this doesn't come as easily. We like to fly by the seat of our pants, or "wing it" as they say.

Generally, people who like to wing it are not as comfortable dealing in the realm of details and specifics. They are classic "big picture" people. They like concepts and ideas, and are good at creating vision and setting strategy, which makes for a good leadership.

While big picture thinking will direct us toward our target, the achievement of a goal actually happens in the details. This is where the rubber meets the road.

Think about that tire for a moment. The goal of a tire is the purpose for which it will be used. Does the tire handle best on snow and ice, or would it be better used as a formula one racing slick? Stating that you are going to create the best snow and ice tire is not enough to make it happen. The design of a tire starts as a big picture strategy decision, and ends with the specific details of the precise rubber compounds to mix and the depth and design of the tread mold.

To be good in sales, you have to have both big picture and detail management skills. You must create a vision, set the strategy, and lead people to the goal. You must also create a specific and realistic plan for yourself and others so that all involved know what it takes to accomplish the objective.

A good account plan will have both a goal and a specific plan. Sales account plans are often something salespeople just create because their management asks them for it. The process of planning though, actually begins to create the desired result in advance.

By being more specific in your account and territory planning, you will find that you are better able to spot the resources you need and potential problems and pitfalls far in advance. This will result in more wins and in cutting your losses sooner on weak opportunities. Also, you will have a bargaining chip with your management, in that you can show what you need in terms of time, money and resources to accomplish the sales objectives that are asked of you.

In making your sales and business plans, you start with the goal and the reasons. Then you create a plan. You take it down to a level of detail so that anyone could follow your instructions. This way, you are assured of getting the results you want because you planned them out in advance.

When people fail to reach their goals, it is usually due to one or two reasons: 1) They forgot why they were doing it and lost their drive, 2) They didn't know precisely how to reach their goal.

Without a specific plan, you can get easily derailed along the way because you didn't know how much time, money, skill, or other resources it would take to get what you want.

Plan out your sales activities. Plan out your quarter. Plan out your week - yes your week - in advance. Plan out your day. Plan out your sales calls. Plan out the questions you are going to ask, just as you would plan out an important presentation. Remember to have a goal and the reasons in mind for each plan. Build plans - you will be more successful.

Finally, don't be concerned as to whether planning will make you an "anally retentive" individual. Successful people set goals and plan for what they want - they don't concern themselves with such labels.

© 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

About the Author
Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at ( and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at (


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