Setting Realistic Targets and Strategies for Success

As a Tech Sales Instructor, I had a student in Miami. We were talking about his dream compensation. "So tell me, man, how much do you want to make a year?" He shot back, "$200 Million". All the other students laughed, but I didn't. If that's his dream, why laugh at it? But I responded, "OK, $200 million a year, but how much of that is going to be from Tech Sales?" He responded without winking, "Oh, about $150K," which is a realistic salary for a Tech Sales professional.

It was clear that I wasn't dealing with just a dreamer but someone who thinks about what he wants and doesn't just throw random numbers with many 0s out there. This example brings me to another conversation with an entry-level sales guy who hired me as a 1-on-1 coach. He told me he wants to make $10,000 monthly at his current company. I told him that was great and that we should make some calculations.

After running the numbers, it was clear that making $10K in his current role wasn't even possible. Even if he became the number one salesperson and made 200 calls daily, he could hit $9K, but that's it. He was surprised because he didn't think about this; he figured he was making $5K now, so the next step was $10K.

So, I told him that there would be another company or another team within his company that sells higher-priced products. He refused to switch companies and said he had no control over switching teams. He's a unique guy because he was making $8K a month from his online store, but he put that on the back burner and chose a commission-only sales role because he wanted to learn sales. This is the only reason anybody serious about sales should do cold sales.

Back to the numbers. We found that his conversion rate out of 200 calls daily is 15%, which is very good. So, we reframed his goal to increase his conversation rate to 20%. This would result in a $6-7K salary next month. Even though this wasn't $10K, he was happy because it was more money, evident growth and a real, achievable target.

Suppose I come and tell you I want to make $95K a month. In that case, you may roll your eyes, but not if I tell you that I was just hired to be the CEO of Germany's National Railways (that is the CEO's actual base salary btw). So the problem is not with the amount of money you want. The problem is when it is out of context and without a clear strategy.

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