How to reach your sales target

Reaching your sales target can be a tough assignment. In this special report, I share with you how I once ran out of time to meet my sales target and what I did that saved me from losing my job.

If you are struggling to meet your weekly sales targets, I understand, we have all been there at one time or another. Whatever you do, don’t give up. All is not lost, even when you start thinking it is not worth trying any longer – push yourself that little bit further.

If you can’t make budget, for whatever reason, then hopefully this article will  inspire you to pick up the phone one more time.

The beginning of the week

At the start of my sales career, for eighteen months I was the Advertising Manager for several business magazines.

The head of the company I worked for acted as though he was the Lord and Master of all he could see. He bullied his staff all year long, to the point that there was a continual revolving door as both junior and senior members of the team came and went. Strangely enough, for one day of the year he changed spots and would spend a small fortune shouting the staff to an all day Christmas party where he would be the most entertaining and jovial of hosts. For one moment on that day, he seemed a really nice chap, but the following day back at work he reverted to form.

Monday mornings would begin with the sound of the Chairman yelling at the top of his voice for everyone to meet him in the Boardroom. He wouldn’t use the office intercom, he preferred bellowing while seated at the head of the boardroom table. If you were late for these weekly meetings, God help you, as he would take great delight in belittling you in front of the entire team.

At one particular meeting, I was asked to stay behind for a private meeting. Private meetings usually involved a great deal of yelling, leaving you walking out in a cold sweat wondering if you still had a job for much longer.

This particular morning, I left the Boardroom having been told that I was reaching my targets but the Chairman felt I wasn’t really pulling my weight and he set me a target for that week which at the time seemed insurmountable.

How was I going to reach my sales target?

As I sat in my office, I felt rather numb. Questions started to rush through my mind, how do they expect me to reach this target? What would happen if I didn’t reach the target? Would I lose my job? Having delved into my various thoughts I decided that I had better make a list of potential prospects and get to work.

That week I worked extremely hard. I pulled out every stop. Contacted every past client I could think of. Each night I would think of as many ideas as possible, all in the hope that they would lead me to more sales.

I was in the office early in the morning, did not take lunch once that week and was the last member of the sales team to leave each night.

What was the result by Friday 5 pm? Had I reached my sales target?

As I walked to the Chairman’s office, I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment all rolled into one.

“What do you mean your $500 away from making your sales target?” Said the Chairman.

“That is not good enough! I did not set those targets for you to come in $500 short.

“I will be leaving the office at 9 PM. It is now five o’clock, you have four hours to get me an extra $500. If you do not make your target by 9 PM tonight, do not come in on Monday! Now get out of here I’m busy.”

By the time I reached my office the shock I felt was replaced with anger. How dare he takes such an attitude, I thought to myself. I will not give him the satisfaction of firing me. I will get him his $500 if it’s the last thing I do.

That evening I pulled out all stops. Even though it was a Friday night, I telephoned everybody I possibly could think of. Normally I would not phone people of an evening, but in this case it was a do or die situation.

Did I make my sales targets?

Because it was after hours on a Friday evening, I was very doubtful that I would get through to any decision-makers. But I was so angry with the Chairman, that I was determined to do whatever it took.

I quickly found out that many senior executives remained in their offices on a Friday evening. Thankfully a number of them answered their phones even though it was after hours.

9 PM arrived, I made the long walk down to the Chairman’s office and entered with a smile on my face. Unlike other times in the week when it is hard to reach decision-makers, by 9 PM that Friday evening I had spoken to numerous key executives and walked into the Chairman’s office having not only sold the required $500, but I had added to this sum a further $1500 in sales.

Expecting a pat on the back, I got the reverse, “That’s good Robinson. I want the same result next week or there will be further trouble! Now get out of my office as I need to prepare to go home.”

What did I learn that week?

1. I Am Capable of Achieving More Than I Think

When the Chairman first told me of my new target, in my mind I nearly flipped. When he told me at 5 PM Friday, that I had four hours to complete my target – it seemed impossible. Even though that experience was not pleasant, it has left a positive impression with me. Today, I have been running my own company for over a decade and as I have no superior pushing me to achieve more, when I now feel like quitting I think back to that time and tell myself – “Ken, you are not done yet. You can achieve a great deal more!”

2. Senior Executives Work Late

I had never thought of contacting a decision maker after hours. Now I know that it is often the best time to contact decision-makers as they are out of meetings, off the phone and usually sitting at their desk sorting out paperwork and their plans for the coming week. What’s more, their secretaries and assistants have gone home , making it much easier to get through.

How Does This Apply to You?

If you’re like most people you have probably set a ceiling for yourself, where you feel you can go no further. My advice, breakthrough those ceilings by pushing yourself way beyond what you thought possible. The satisfaction you’ll get from going that extra mile is extremely satisfying. Yes, you will be rewarded financially. But no financial reward is as satisfying as breaking through your own ceiling of limits you have set for yourself.

Question: Have you ever been challenged by a sales target? What did you do to make the grade? I look forward to reading your comments below.