Here we are, at the midpoint of the year and I know that very soon I will start to have the dreaded ‘numbers’ conversations with some individuals. It is truly amazing how many times I have this conversation and sadly, I have the conversation with some individuals on more than one occasion. When will it finally sink in?
There is no doubt that for some salespeople, numbers form the basis of their very existence or job. They stress, worry and fret on a monthly basis and on those highlighted occasions i.e. end of the quarter and halfway through the year, as we are now, all the emotions are magnified. The one single overriding factor to get rid of all that pressure in most cases, is to simply ask the question: ‘Whose number is it anyway?’
All right, get that confused look off your face. I know that the number has been attached to you somehow. Further, you have been made responsible for reaching it. However, is it really yours? Did you at any point have a conversation with the person that gave you that goal as to its legitimacy? Did you sign off on it? Did it fit all the parameters of a SMART goal? We all remember SMART goals, right? Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
We can check off ‘Specific’. After all, it is a number and there is no arguing it. Obviously, it would be ‘Measureable’. All that is required for that is a tracking matrix of some kind to keep track of it and it certainly is ‘Timely’ in that you have one year. Is it, however, ‘Attainable’ and ‘Realistic’? Note the word between those two terms, ‘and’. If you knew that either was not, then the question becomes crystal clear: ‘Why did you agree to be held accountable to it?’ Once you agree to it, you also become responsible for attaining it.
This brings it back to whose number is it anyway? If there was no: ‘Hey, wait a minute! We really need to talk about this number!’ discussion at the setting point of the new number, then by silence, you are implying acceptance and therefore, responsible/accountable for it. If you know that it was unrealistic and/or unattainable, then the time to bring it up was back then. You should, however, be prepared with facts, figures, and data that backs your case. After all, it’s not like the timing of getting the new numbers is shrouded in secrecy. It happens basically the same time every year. In other words, have your own number prepared and the reasoning behind why yours should be the one accepted.
If it meets all the parameters of the SMART goal then yes, sign off on it. If however it does not, negotiations have to ensue in order to come up with a number that both parties can be content with.
Until you agree to be held accountable for something, no one can hold you responsible for it. Unfortunately, many fail to realize that silence is considered as acceptance. It is the true professional that does not accept anything blindly and further, only agrees to be held accountable for the things that they have accepted to be held responsible for. Otherwise, as the old Polish proverb goes: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”
Once again, we have now reached the halfway point and how are you feeling? Do we need to talk about it again next year?