NEXT – The Most Important Word In Sales

I was talking to a real estate agent the other day about the importance of disqualifying leads, and he told me an interesting story about their office’s top producer. He was talking to her one day and asking her what she did that made her so successful. She said her secret could be summed up with one word. When he asked what it was she said:

NEXT.

The moment I heard him tell me that I was in total agreement. I told him that was what I was trying to teach him with my disqualifying method. The majority of people you speak with, I told him, are never going to be a deal. The problem 80% of sales reps make is they spend time with them anyway, sending information, making multiple appointments, and begging and chasing the deal.

The Top 20% producers? Their attitude is – NEXT. And that’s when he said something interesting. He said he was afraid to let go because he didn’t want to chance losing a sale.

“If you don’t know after qualifying and listening to your prospect what it’s going to take to get the sale, or who isn’t a real buyer, then you’ve got problems — big problems.” I told him.

“I guess I kind of know but you can never be sure,” he said.

I’m here to tell you that it’s that attitude that separates the bottom 80% of sales reps from the Top 20%! The Top 20% know when to say, and aren’t afraid of saying, NEXT.

If you’d like to learn the Secrets of Top 20% and how to identify buyers and stop wasting time with non-buyers, here are a couple of things you should do:

#1) Go to http://mrinsidesales.com/ultimatescripts.htm and get the book of proven, word for word scripts that will help you qualify real buyers and teach you how to disqualify out the time wasters – so you can say NEXT sooner and save your energy….

#2) If you want even more Top 20% techniques, then watch these free webinars: http://mrinsidesales.com/webinartraining.htm

The sooner you learn to identify and spend time with qualified buyers, the easier it will be for you to say NEXT…..

The Key to Using Your Imagination

I’m reading a great book this summer about the power of using your imagination, called “The Law and the Promise” by Neville. It’s the kind of book that adds very fine distinctions to the concept of the Law of Attraction, and acts almost like a graduate level work on the subject. It’s the kind of book that reminds you what you think you already know about the power of setting specific goals and visualizing their accomplishment, but it does so in a way that makes you go, “Ah hah!”

The key that I took from it is the distinction between thinking of an image or goal realized and thinking from the image instead. This difference is so important, that it means the difference between a vision or goal being manifested or not.

The book points out that everyone uses their imagination, and the way most people use it is to think about something. In other words, they imagine something – a new car, more money, a new home, etc. – and they think about what it looks like, or they visualize the image as being out there. For example, everyone can hold the image of a beach in their minds – everyone can visualize it. The imagination can create virtually any image and think about it. That’s how most people use their imagination.

The difference in thinking from the image rather than of the image is that when you think from the image, you become part of it. It ceases to be an abstract concept, and instead, by entering into the wish fulfilled, you feel its accomplishment and thereby manifest it much faster. As Neville says, everything we see is created by focused and sustained thought through imagination, and fastest way to sustain that thought is to think and feel from the image manifested.

What this means in practice is that it’s crucial to create an image and then to inhabit it by feeling, seeing, hearing, sensing, acting as if it has been manifested. The sooner you do that, the sooner it will come into being.

Neville has many other golden nuggets in this book, like:

“Imagine better than the best you know.”

“If we live in the dream – thinking from it – and not of it, then the creative power of imagining will answer our adventurous fancy, and the wish fulfilled will break in upon us and take us unawares.”

“The drama of life originates in the imagination of man.”

“Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change in attitude.”

I love that last quote about attitude. I’ve written many times about how changing our attitudes can change everything else too. Remember it was Zig Ziglar that said, “It’s our attitude, not our aptitude that determines our altitude.”

If you are looking for another book to add to your summer reading, then pick up this gem and read it today. It’s a fast read (you could read it in an afternoon), but it is a rich read as well. All books of truth are. I hope that learning to live from your dreams help you manifest them even sooner.

3 Secrets to Reaching Your Financial Goals in 2013

Now that December is here, it is time for me to solidify my goals for 2013. As always, I balance and set goals in all areas to maximize my growth as a person and as a professional. I have goals for health that include a targeted lifetime eating plan; goals for my business that emphasize professional growth; goals for creative expression that include writing and photography; goals for relaxation that include Europe and a lot more NFL football games!

When it comes to setting and reaching these goals, I use a simple and proven 3 step process that virtually assures that I reach my goals. I’m going to lay it out here as it applies to a financial goal, but recognize that this method applies to the success of reaching ANY goal. Here’s what you do:

Secret #1: The first step is to be absolutely precise on the desired goal. While you may have heard this before, it’s still amazing that many people I work with don’t practice this. For example, I still ask people what their financial goal is and they tell me, “earn more money than I made last year.” If you earn $1.50 more in 2013, then you will have reached your goal, won’t you?

Instead, you need to know the exact amount. In determining that number, I always look at each month, factor in vacations, holidays, projects, etc., and then I add up each month and come up with an EXACT figure. And then I add 20% more!

Once I have that “stretch goal,” I break it down again per month and write each month’s specific dollar goal everywhere so I’m looking at it each day of every month. I post it on my desk, in my car, in the bathroom; I know exactly what I’m going to accomplish each and every day.

I also adjust it per my production for that day so it is a fluid and ever changing number. Sometimes the daily amount gets bigger as the week goes on, and sometimes it gets smaller (depending on my production each day). But the point is that it is specific and exact, and I’m always aware of what my daily, monthly and yearly, specific dollar amount goal is for each and every day.

If you haven’t done this yet (especially the “add 20%”), then do it before January 1, 2013. You’ll be amazed how much this will keep you motivated and into action. And you’ll be amazed by your increased production!

Secret #2: Get clear on where every dollar of your income is going to go. Ask yourself: “What am I going to do with all the money I’m going to earn this year?” How much are you going to save by the end of the year? How much debt are you going to pay off? Are you going to buy a new car? Pay for your kid’s education? How much do you have budgeted for vacation? How about taxes? How about retirement?

These are just some of the questions you need to get in the habit of asking yourself this month, and you need to be completely clear on exactly where each dollar is going and where you’re going to be financially by the end of 2013. Having this kind of clarity and purpose helps keep you focused and disciplined, and it has a magical effect on how the Universe helps you accomplish your specific financial goal.

Now I know that things come up, but when you have every dollar accounted for, you’ll be amazed at how you can earn extra money to handle the unexpected. That’s just how it works. But I have found that when I’m crystal clear on how much I’m going to earn and what I’m going to accomplish as a result of it, my focus is razor sharp and I remain motivated each and every day.

In addition, when you know why you’re working so hard and what for, you’re ready to put secret number three into effect:

Secret #3: Once you are clear on your exact financial goal and know what you are going to get as a result of it, you can now practice one of the most important parts of any goal accomplishment: acting as if you’ve already attained your goal. If you’ve ever read any book on the Law of Attraction, then you know all about the importance of accepting and believing on a subconscious level that you already have what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

The Law is simple: the Universe responds to what you feel and believe to be true. If you think you’re broke or that your territory is poor or that you can’t do something, then you’ll find evidence to support your belief and you’ll act (or not act!) accordingly. If you believe the opposite, then you’ll find a way to keep taking actions to accomplish what you believe is possible, and the Universe will provide you with the opportunities to confirm what you believe.

But the key is to believe it has already happened. By acting as if you are already the top producer at your company, or by going to sleep at night already feeling the feelings of having accomplished your goal, you’ll act like a magnet for the success you’ve already determined is yours.

By acting as if you’ve accomplished your goal, you’ll automatically and easily take the actions necessary to achieve them. Suddenly it will be “like you” to come in earlier, to make more calls, to qualify better, etc. I have found that acting as if is the most important thing I have ever done to catapult me into new earning levels and new conditions in my life.

And I have found that it ALWAYS works. Whether I believe I can or I can’t, I’m always right.

There are lots of ways to achieve the “being state” of acting, feeling and experiencing your success in advance, but my favorite is to write and read affirmations that are rich in feeling and emotion. There are many books out there that will teach you how to do that, and I recommend you invest in them today.

The bottom line is that when you follow these three secrets to successful goal attainment, you will become unstoppable. There will no longer be road blocks, and no outside element will ever permanently get in the way of your accomplishing any goal you’ll set. You see, there is always a way to achieve anything you can dream of. And if you’re absolutely clear on what it is, know exactly why you’re going for it, and can feel and live as if you’ve already accomplished it, then nothing can stop you from attaining it.

I encourage you to use this month to put these secrets into your goal planning for 2013. If you do, then next year at this time you will be reaching for even more aggressive goals because you’ll have discovered the real secrets to performance in life.

All the best for 2013!

My Secret to Sales Success

I get asked, over and over again, what the one secret to my sales success was.  Was it dedication and commitment, some ask?  Was it perfecting my sales skills and being better at it than my competition?  Was it old fashioned persistence?  Was it that I got better leads”?  (By the way, I didn’t.  I got all the regular ‘green card’ leads like everybody else).  What exactly was it that made me the top 1% of all sales reps in my career?

My answer to that question is two-fold.  First, all of the above was true.  I was completely committed to being the best at what I did, and I learned and perfected all the sales skills I could, etc.  I’ve written about this before in my bestselling book, “The Real Secrets of the Top 20%”, and in hundreds of articles I’ve written over the years.  

But that alone wasn’t what drove me to perform at my best.  

In fact, while learning and using the best skills is highly important, it’s only half of what you need to excel.  It’s the other half of the equation of success that makes the real difference – having, reaching, updating and setting worthwhile goals – in all areas – is what is needed to drive and sustain the kind of effort to truly change your career and your life. 

Now I know you’ve all heard about the importance of setting goals, and I’ll bet you’ve probably all set some goals from time to time and even reached some of them.  But here’s the million dollar question: Do you have specific goals, right now, written down in all areas of your life that you’re affirming on a daily basis, and visualizing several times a day? 

If you’re like most people, the answer is no.  And the reason for this is you’ve probably never been taught, or had a structured program, for keeping you motivated long enough to reach and then re-set meaningful goals.  

For a FREE goal setting plan, along with videos and everything you’ll need to learn how to do this, simply Click Here 

Everything changed when I learned the secret and the power of setting achievable and meaningful goals.  In fact, goal setting is still what drives me to get up in the morning and do what I do.  My vision of my life in the next year, next two years and five years and beyond is so exciting, so motivating, so dynamic, that I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and go to work! 

Is that how you feel, too?  If not, then I’d like to invite you to the 100 Day Challenge.  The good news is that it’s completely FREE, and it’s the missing ingredient to the success you desire.  

Ask any top producer (or top performer, athlete, or leader in any profession) what their immediate and long term goals are and they will tell you – in vivid detail.  You see creating a vision is what enables you to use the skills and ability and techniques that you may already have. It’s also what motivates you to get these skills and perfect them if you don’t.  

Having a believable and attainable vision for your life is the key to a successful, purposeful and happy life. 

That is the ultimate answer I give when people ask me what the secret to my success in sales (and life) is.  If you want success in your life as well, then start by defining what that means to you today and for tomorrow, and set manageable goals to begin moving toward it.  

Remember, you will move toward and bring into your life what you are focused on every day.  My question to you is: Have you taken the time today to define, or redefine, exactly what this is?  If not, then take the FREE 100 Day Challenge today!

3 Skills to Succeed in 2012

As we head into the holidays, you’re probably reviewing your year and wondering what you can do to have an even better 2012.  Here are three areas you can focus on that will pay you huge dividends in the year ahead

1)      Focus on building an attitude that expects success.  Your number one priority for the New Year should be to do everything you can do to develop, protect, and nurture a contagiously enthusiastic attitude. The ultimate key to success in this and every year is your ability maintain a positive attitude.  Think about all the negative people you’re going to run into today, this week and this month.  Are you going to infect them with your positive, can do attitude, or are you going to get more and more negative with each phone call?  IT IS UP TO YOU!!

Starting this week, get into the habit of feeding your mind and attitude daily with affirmations, by listening to motivational CD’s, by reading two pages a day in a positive book, and by goal setting. If you haven’t read books like, “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, or “Beyond Positive Thinking” by Dr. Robert Anthony, then go to Amazon and order them today.

My favorite way to feed my positive attitude is to use hypnotic recording CD’s or MP3’s.  Click Here for the best selection of quality programs at unbelievably low prices!

2)      Sharpen Your Sales Skills.  Let’s face it – there is no room for error in today’s selling environment.  Sloppy sales presentations, poorly qualified leads, and just plain lazy or bad habits are going to make you miserable in your job in 2012.  You must, and I mean must, learn, practice and use effective sales techniques that will allow you to identify buyers and then deliver effective presentations to close more business.

The Top 20% will do well because they already use effective skills and spend time getting better, but the bottom 80% are going to struggle.  I would say that up to one quarter of all sales reps will lose their jobs in 2012 because they won’t improve enough to make it in today’s competitive marketplace.

What are YOU doing now to improve your skills each day?  Obviously there are many good books and training CD’s on the market, but if you are really committed to improving, then start by learning and using better scripts.  You can get over 220 scripts by investing in my best-selling book, “The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts.”  See it here.

If you want an even more comprehensive core selling skills training program for you or your team, then Click Here.

3)      Start Listening To Your Prospects.  Now more than ever, it’s crucially important that you learn how to connect with your prospects and show them you really care about what they’re going through and what their needs are.  80% of your competition is going to pitch and pitch and pitch, and this is going to turn off the people they are trying to sell.  The Top 20% are going to take the time to understand the choices their prospects and clients have and they’re going to find ways to help them.  And it all begins with listening.

People are going to buy from people they like, know and trust, and the best way to build this rapport is by asking questions and actually listening to their answers.  I’ve written many articles on listening skills, and you can see many of them here.  Whatever you do, though, you must begin showing your prospects you care, and best way to do that is by learning how to listen.

So there you have it.  Three simple things you can do that will guarantee you success in 2012.  Just remember, 80% of your competition won’t do these things but if you will you will out sell and out-perform them in sales.  In fact, you will become a Top 20% producer, and I’ll bet that will make your 2012 successful, won’t it?

So commit to yourself today and start implementing these three techniques.  Believe me, this time next year, you’ll be glad you did!

If you found this article helpful, then you will love Mike’s new book: “The REAL Secrets of the Top 20% – How To Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone.”  You can read about it by clicking here: http://www.mrinsidesales.com/bookmarketing.htm

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of top 20% performance.

He offers a FREE audio program designed to help you double your income selling over the phone, as well as an internationally acclaimed FREE ezine. If you’re looking to catapult your sales, or create a sales team that actually makes their monthly revenues, then learn how by visiting: http://www.MrInsideSales.com

Why You Don’t Want to Be Successful

I was in Las Vegas giving a Keynote speech at a sale conference the other week, and a rep came up to me and told me this story:

“Mike, I was out playing golf with a really successful business coach a few years ago, and after I hit my first ball about 150 yards, we got back into the golf cart and I said to him, ‘I really want to be able to hit the ball 200 yards.’  The business coach looked at me (we’ll call him Bob), and he said, ‘No you don’t.’ 

“I looked at him and said, yes I do.  I really want to be able to hit the ball 200 yards.”

 “No you don’t,” Bob said. 

“By now, Mike, I’m getting pretty mad because, yes, I do really want to hit the ball 200 yards, so I said to Bob, ‘What do you mean, no I don’t?  I do!  I really want to be able to hit the ball 200 yards!

“So Bob looks at me and he says: ‘Well, do you have a golf coach that you’re working with every week?’  And I said, no.  He then asks me, ‘Well, do you practice every week?’  And I said, no. 

“So he says, ‘Well, see.  You don’t really want to hit the ball 200 yards!’” 

I nodded at the rep and he smiled at me.  He then said, “I’ll tell you, Mike, after that ride in that golf cart, I went and hired a pro, committed to practicing regularly, and now I hit the ball 200 yards!” 

That story really hit home for me.  I can’t tell you how many times I “wanted” to have or do something, but nothing happened until I committed to it and took consistent action.  In fact, I can’t remember anything that I didn’t get or accomplish once I did that!  

And that’s why I love coaching and working with business owners and sales reps who have made the commitment to getting better.  I know through my own experience and the experience of hundreds of other people I’ve worked with over the years, that if you are finally ready to do what it takes to succeed, then I can give you the tools that ensure success.  

Think about your own situation for a moment.  What are your goals or resolutions this year?  Are you committed to getting in better physical shape?  Are you committed to a certain income level this year?  To completing a creative task?  

If so, have you hired a fitness trainer?  Do you have a sales coach or have you joined a mastermind group to support you and give you the tools you need to succeed?  Have you joined a writing or photography group?  

Just what actions ARE you taking right now to accomplish your goal?  

The bottom line is that we all want lots of things, but only a few of us are willing to actually do something about it.  Is this the year that you finally have what it is you’ve always wanted?  The good news is that it’s there for the taking if you’re ready to do something about it.  I hope you are.

3 Keys to Reaching Your Financial Goal in 2011

I don’t know you, but for me this week between Christmas and New Years Eve is the week that I solidify my goals for the New Year. As always, I balance my goals and so set them in all areas to maximize my growth as a person and as a professional. I have goals for health that include diet and exercise; goals for my career that include income and professional growth; goals for creative expression that include writing and photography; goals for relaxation that include travel and leisure, etc.

When it comes to setting and reaching these goals, I have found that there is a simple yet crucial 3 step process that virtually assures that I reach any goal. I’m going to lay it out here as it applies to a financial goal, but realize that this method applies to the success of reaching ANY goal. Here’s what you do:

Key #1: The first step is to be absolutely precise on the desired goal. For example, it isn?t enough for your financial goal to be to “earn more money than last year.” If you earn $1.50 more in 2011, then you will have reached your goal!

Instead, you need to know the exact amount. In determining that number, I always look at each month, factor in vacations, holidays, projects, etc., and then I add up each month and come up with an EXACT figure.

Once I have that, I break it down again per month and write each month’s specific dollar goal everywhere so I’m looking at it each day of that month. I post it on my desk, in my car, in the bathroom; I know exactly what it is each and every day.

I also adjust it per my production for that day so it is a fluid and ever changing number. Sometimes it gets bigger as the week goes on, and sometimes it gets smaller (depending on my production each day). But the point is that it is specific and exact and I’m always aware of what my daily, monthly and yearly, specific dollar amount goal is for each and every day.

That’s key number one.

Key #2: The next specific thing to be aware of is where each dollar of your yearly financial goal is going to go. Ask yourself: “What am I going to do with all the money I’m going to earn this year?” How much are you going to save by the end of the year? How much debt are you going to pay off? Are you going to buy a new car? Pay for your kid’s education? How much do you have budgeted for vacation? How about taxes? How about retirement?

These are just some of the questions you need to get in the habit of asking yourself at the start of the year, and you need to be completely clear on exactly where each dollar is going and where you’re going to be financially by the end of the year. Having this kind of clarity and purpose help keep you focused and disciplined, and it has a magical effect on how the Universe helps you accomplish your specific financial goal.

Now I know things come up, but when you have every dollar accounted for, you’ll be amazed at how you can earn extra money to handle the unexpected. That’s just how it works. But I have found that when I’m crystal clear on how much I’m going to earn and what I’m going to accomplish as a result of it, my focus is razor sharp and I remained motivated each and every day.

In addition, when you know why you’re working so hard and what for, you’re ready to put key number three into effect:

Key #3: Once you are clear on your exact financial goal and know what you are going to get as a result of it, you can now practice one of the most important parts of any goal accomplishment: acting as if you’ve already attained your goal. If you’ve ever read any book on the Law of Attraction, then you know all about the importance of accepting and believing on a subconscious level that you already have what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

The Law is simple: the Universe responds to what you feel and believe to be true. If you think you’re broke or that your territory is poor or that you can’t do something, then you’ll find evidence to support your belief and you?ll act (or not act!) accordingly. If you believe the opposite, then you’ll find a way to keep taking actions to accomplish what you believe is possible, and the Universe will provide you with the opportunities to confirm what you believe.

But the key is to believe it has already happened. By acting as if you are already the top producer at your company, or by going to sleep at night already feeling the feelings of having accomplished your goal, you’re acting like a magnet for the success you’ve already determined is yours.

By acting as if you’ve accomplished your goal, you’ll automatically and easily take the actions necessary to achieve them. Suddenly it will be “like you” to come in earlier, to make more calls, to qualify better, etc. I have found that acting as if is one of the most important things I have done to catapult me into new earning levels and “being states.”

And I have found that it ALWAYS works. Whether I believe I will or I won’t, I?m always right.

There are lots of ways to achieve the “being state” of acting, feeling and experiencing your success in advance, but my favorite is to write and read affirmations that are rich in feeling and emotion. There are many books out there that will teach you how to do that and I recommend you invest in them today.

The bottom line is that when you follow these three keys to successful goal attainment, you will become unstoppable. There will no longer be road blocks, and no outside element will ever get in the way of your accomplishing any goal you’ll set. You see, there is always a way to achieve anything you can dream of. And if you’re absolutely clear on what it is, know exactly why you’re going for it, and can feel and live as if you’ve already accomplished it, then nothing can stop you from attaining it.

I encourage you to use this week to put these keys into your goals planning for 2011. If you do, then next year at this time you will be reaching for even more aggressive goals because you’ll have discovered the real keys to performance in life.

All the best for 2011!

Five Sure Fire Ways to Overcome Call Reluctance

Have you ever sat at your desk, shuffled your leads, looked at the clock thinking that lunchtime was way too far off, and then prayed for the phone lines to go dead?  Has the phone ever seemed like a 500-pound weight?  If so, then you know what call reluctance is.

Before I became a Top 20% producer, I had these feelings all the time.  I hated Mondays and Tuesdays, hated my job, and dreaded making calls.  Pretty dismal.

The good news is that all this changed when I made a decision to become a Top 20% closer.  It all changed when I made a decision to change my life and committed to doing whatever I needed to do to be the best.  And you can, too. 

Here’s your Five-Step formula for turning your life and career around:

1) Ask yourself if your current job, company or industry allows you the real opportunity to earn the kind of living you can get really excited about.  What are the Top 20% in your company/industry making right now?  If you were one of them, would you be really happy, excited and motivated?  If not, start looking for another job/company/industry.  If you CAN get excited where you are, then:

2) Make a commitment TODAY to doing whatever it takes to become a Top 20% producer.  Your mantra should now be, ?If they (the Top 20%) can do it, I can too!"  It all starts with a decision and a commitment, and you need to make that TODAY.

3) Learn and practice the top sales skills, techniques and strategies of Top 20% closers. Become an intense student of your craft — buy, invest, study and use all the top sales materials you can.  Then commit to getting better on each and every call.

4) Lock on to the end result.  How much do the Top 20% in your company/industry make?  How will your life change once you become one?  What are some of the direct benefits you will enjoy?  Identify how it will feel every day to wake up and have them.  What kind of car are you now driving?  How does it feel to be debt free?  What is it you really want?  Get crystal clear on these things.

5) Act as it.  Make up an affirmation card and begin affirming with emotion three to five times a day your new reality.  Your affirmation must be in the first person as if you have already achieved your goal.  How does it feel right now to be the best?  Once you create this reality on the inside, your outside reality will change to reflect your new ?inner reality? (the key to The Secret).  Start today.

I guarantee that if you follow these five steps, your whole life will change.  And on Monday morning, you will be the first one in the office and you won’t be able to get on the phone fast enough.  Your call reluctance will turn into call urgency. I know because it happened to me and to hundreds of others I’ve worked with.

The 5 Secrets of Setting Short Term Goals

When I talk to people about goal setting, I’m often surprised by their reactions. A lot of people tell me that they haven’t gotten around to setting life-time goals and identifying their values and coming up with specific, measurable bench marks, etc…

They tell me that goal setting takes too much time and energy, and that it will require days and weeks of work and that once they have the goals they’ll start to feel bad if they don’t reach them.

Some of the time people tell me they do have goals, but when I ask them about what they are, they come up with vague wants and “Gee, I hope I get some day” items that change with each paycheck.

Sound familiar?

While life-time goal setting does require an initial investment of time and energy, the payoff is immediate and life changing. The good news, however, is that identifying and writing down even short term goals will give you the same benefits, and setting short term goals is a quick and effective way to develop momentum, build confidence and get some meaningful things accomplished.

If you want to see your life change in just 3 to 6 months, then follow these 5 quick rules for setting short term goals. As you’ll see, accomplishing just one short term goal can change your life beyond your wildest dreams!

Secret #1:  Grab a calendar. Pick a short term, manageable 3 to 6 month period to set your goals in.  Short term goals tend to get you into action right away, are easier to visualize, and because of their short term nature they encourage you to set realistic, easy to accomplish goals.

Secret #2:  Pick just 2 or 3 goals to work with.
Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to change every area of your life.  Just pick a couple of areas that you want to begin changing in the next few months.

Secret #3:  The goals you pick don’t have to be fully accomplished in the time period you’ve identified. This is the key!  Rather, what you’re looking to do in the next 3 to 6 months is to simply develop momentum, establish a pattern, and begin getting you excited about your life again.

Great areas to set short term goals in are things like:

  • Beginning or resuming an exercise routine and setting a goal to be so far along in the time frame you’ve set.
  • Increasing your closing percentage by a reasonable amount.
  • Having read or begun listening to a couple of books.
  • Joined a dating site and begun dating again.
  • Taking up or resuming a favorite hobby again.

Remember at the beginning I wrote that setting even short term goals can be a life-changing event?  I know of someone who had a goal of finding and developing a serious relationship, and his short term goal was simply to join a dating site and begin dating.  Well, he did that, met someone in 2 weeks, and now 6 months later, they are engaged to be married!  You see, even short term goals can change your life!

Secret #4:  Write your goals down. You’ve heard over and over again how much more effective goal setting is when you write your goals down.  It’s totally true.  Once you’ve identified your 2 or 3 goals, write down in detail what it is you want to accomplish, or what stage you want to be in at the end of the time period you’ve chosen.

Once you’ve done that, get a three by five card and write out an affirmation paragraph that describes in detail how you will feel once you’ve reached that goal.  Keep it in the first person as if you’ve already accomplished that goal.  Not: “I can’t wait to feel…”  Rather: “It feels so good now that I’m…”

Secret #5:  Make a list and start identify right now, today, what actions you can take to move you closer to your goals. Can you join a gym?  Buy new walking shoes?  Make 10 more cold calls today?  Fill out a profile on a dating site?  Take your kids to the park tonight?

Make a list of actions you can take today and take them!

Do the same thing tomorrow and get in the habit of taking an action each day to move you closer to your goals.

Follow this 5-Step method of setting short term goals and I guarantee you that your life WILL change 3 to 6 months from now.

How to Set SMART Goals

I don’t know about you, but now that’s it May, it’s time for me to identify my top priorities for the rest of the year, and then set some specific goals for their accomplishment.  I know the value of having specific goals in each area of my life, and by becoming clear on exactly where I want to be by the end of the year, I can begin feeling good now as I imagine myself as already having achieved them.  It’s an empowering way to live!

So many people still ask me what the secret to successful goal setting is, so I thought I’d share with you one of the basic principles of goal setting.  The most effective way to set goals is to start by using the SMART principles of goal setting.  SMART goals give you a proven format and a much better chance of following through and achieving them.  By the way, these SMART principles of goal setting also work extremely well when setting goals within a company, department, or sales team.  Here they are:

1)    Specific:  Goals must be specific.  You can’t say that you want more money, because if you did I’d hand you a dollar and BAM – you’d have more money!  How much more money?  Know all the details like: Where will it be kept?  (Bank account? Mutual Fund?  Stock Fund?  CD earning 4%?)  Where will it come from?  (Salary + Overtime?  Commission?  Bonus?  Sales Contest winnings?)

Knowing the specifics about your goal (in any area) helps you envision it more clearly, and anything you hold clearly in your mind you move towards that much faster.  Plus, having specific goals have the added benefit of being measurable.

2)    Measurable: The most important thing about a measurable goal is that it keeps you motivated. If you weren’t able to track your progress, you’d lose interest real quick.  Imagine a race without a finish line.  Or a sales contest without an end or way of telling who was winning.

By making your goals measurable, you’ll be able to get excited, stay motivated, and even reward yourself each time a new milestone is reached.

3)    Attainable: Not only must your goals be attainable, but they must be believable.  The number one rule for all goal setting is that you must set a goal that deep down you believe you can accomplish.  If not, then you’ll end up quitting as soon as the going gets tough.

In other words, you want to set a goal that is going to make you stretch a bit to achieve it, but don’t make it extreme.  Think about what would really excite you if you achieved it, and then think about what you are willing to do to actually to reach it.  Once you’ve identified something you really want and you believe is within your reach, then set it and go to work.

4)    Relevant: To be effective, especially in the long term, your goals should be relevant to your values and to what you consider to be meaningful.  Many goals get tossed by the wayside because in the course of working for them, people find they just aren’t willing to give up certain behaviors because the payoff of those behaviors is more important than the goals.

For example, if earning an additional $20,000 in the next six months is a goal you have, but it will require overtime every day, and working weekends, then you may quickly find that spending time with your family and watching football on Sunday are more important to you than the additional money.  If so, then ask yourself: What is a relevant goal in terms of money and your lifestyle?

In other words, what is really important to you, and what are you willing to do to reach a goal?

5)    Time-bound: Goals must have a starting point, a completion date, and even fixed durations (especially in work related situations).  Without specific deadlines, many goals get overtaken by the day to day activities and the demands of life.  If you set a goal in January to take an awesome vacation, then I’ll bet you’re still waiting to plan it.  Whereas if you set a goal to visit England and France before the kids go back to school, I’ll bet you’re leaving next week!

Now a word of clarification: While I believe some goals are more effective when they have a time line (especially goals that involve other people’s participation or contribution), I also believe that time lines on personal improvement goals can be counterproductive.  In these areas it’s best work on changing your self-image or picture first, because behavior and goal achievement will always follow.  But more on that later…

The bottom line is that SMART goals have a much higher chance for success than goals that don’t contain these time proven principles.  If you want to finish your year strong, then do yourself a favor and come up with 5, 8, or even 10 or more specific goals that you’re committed to achieving by the end of this year.

After you have them, make them SMART and you’ll be well on your way to a successful end of 2010.