Sales Effectiveness Best Practices: Setting Daily Goals
By Jeff Shore
Top sales performers are activity-driven; their activities complement their more important goals. If you don’t see a goal on my list that gets you jazzed up, come up with your own. That goal might just be the most effective of them all.
Improve your sales effectiveness by using these best practices.
Translate Sales Goals into Activity Goals
Your goal might be to sell four homes in your community this month. You cannot always control how many sales get written; you can only control your efforts toward that end. So break down the goal into the specific activities that will lead to the result. Your list might look like this:
- Number of closing questions I must ask to get four sales: 8
- Number of people I need to take to a homesite to ask eight closing questions: 10
- Number of people to whom I need to ask the Plan Close question: 20
- Number of model demos I need to do to ask twenty Plan Close questions: th30irty
- Number of traffic units I need to demonstrate thirty homes: 40
(I understand that these numbers are going to vary dramatically from market to market and that the above example might be WAY off for your area. Please go through this exercise and plug in the numbers that make sense for you.)
Now you can begin to track your specific efforts in each area. Each week you can track not just your traffic count but also your model demonstration frequency, how often you ask the Plan Close question, how many site tours you give, etc.
Trust me. If you don’t meet your sales goals, you’ll find the variance in the numbers somewhere. And identifying the conflict will give you a specific focus point for targeted performance improvement.
This practice is no different from losing a basketball game and looking at the stat sheet: “Let’s see, we shot well from the floor, and we made our free throws, but we turned the ball over twenty-five times that game, and the opponent scored thirty of their ninety points after our turnovers. Team, we’re going to work on our ball control skills.”
See how that works? You can see the power of goal setting as you break the process down into specific activities. It is incredibly effective. Remember, you cannot always control the outcome, but you can control the effort by executing the actions.
Changing Your Circumstances
Let’s suppose that, after you analyze your actions (see above), you realize that your traffic levels are insufficient to meet your activity goals. You have two options, both of which are under your control.
First, you can improve your efficiency in other areas of the sale to increase your conversion rates. As you become more effective in the model demonstration, for example, you can lower the number of model demos you need to do to get to a Plan Close question.
Your second option is to set a goal to change the circumstances, in this case, to raise your initial numbers by prospecting for self-generated traffic. You only need to increase your traffic by a little bit if you increase your quality of traffic. The good news is that self-generated traffic is always of a higher quality than traffic generated by advertising, so you can expect to need a lower level of high-quality traffic to meet your goals.
My recent book, Tougher Market New Home Sales, has an entire chapter on lead generation.
Skill Development Opportunities
We agree that output results from input, correct? And we can further agree that the higher the quality of the input, the better the output, right? The difference between the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Warren G. Harding High School Concert Band is neither the music nor the instruments; it’s the quality of the individual performances.
Think of your sales presentation as a concert in which you play every instrument. If your performance on any instrument weakens, the concert will be less than optimal. When you nail down every part, you can expect success.
My observation in new home sales is that sales professionals are good at what they’re good at and rely on those strengths to get them into a new contract.
But what if they became proficient in all those other areas as well? Wouldn’t we expect the sales pace to rise dramatically?
So, why not find an “instrument” to work on and focus on that for a day, a week, or a month? And I don’t mean you should practice until you can perform Chopsticks. I mean that you should master the skill.
This level of dedication is an outstanding example of goal setting in action. As you look at the following list of skill-building practices, look for patterns more than specifics. Apply the principles here to other areas of the presentation. Of course, if you need improvement in one of the areas listed below, by all means, go for it!
- Ask ten questions in the first two minutes of the sales conversation.
- Insert one powerful discovery question into your presentation three times daily.
- Practice handling a tough objection, such as an early request for a discount.
- Ask the “Plan Close” question to five of your next ten sales office visitors.
- Site 50% of your traffic.
- Accomplish 100% phone follow-up with every visitor this week within four business hours.
You’ll find detailed examples of these items in Tougher Market New Home Sales chapter two.
Set a Service-Oriented Goal
A service-oriented goal doesn’t have to be specifically related to sales skills. Since customer care is such a high priority in the life of a new home sales professional, a goal involving customer care will go a long way toward both improving your sales performance and motivating you to provide outstanding service. Moreover, when you focus on this area, you’ll find that the positive energy it fosters will spill over into your conversations with new prospects. The following are suggestions for customer care goals:
- Return buyer phone calls within sixty minutes whenever possible.
- Begin the calls to your backlog with a sales-oriented message.
- Provide custom-tailored community information to both prospects and your buyers in the backlog.
- Have a cookie-baking day and make dozens of cookies.
- Pay four teenagers ten dollars an hour and have a car wash morning for all your prospects and buyers.
- Brainstorm customer care.
One more thing about goal clarity—it restores your sanity. Your circumstances might bring you all kinds of anguish on any given day, but your goals say there’s at least one aspect of your professional life over which you have complete control.
You can lock the door at the end of the day, knowing you control this important area of your professional life. Without a goal, you’re left to be the victim of your circumstances, a mindset completely inconsistent with that of a top performer.
Setting daily goals will change your world!