As you continue to wrap up December sales and enrollments – and as you prepare for 2023 – it’s time once again to look at goal setting.
One of the most effective methods for goal setting is to be SMART. I don’t mean just being intelligent about your goals, but rather to embrace the SMART acronym as part of your strategy.
If you’re unfamiliar with SMART goal setting, let me explain.
Each of the letters in SMART is the foundation of your strategy for your new year’s goals.
S: Be specific in setting your goals
Ask yourself a series of questions to help you map your strategy.
-Who is involved? You alone? Or, are you working with others?
-What do you want to accomplish? What are the specific reasons or target benefits of achieving your goal?
-Where will it happen, at what location?
-Why is the goal important? Why are you doing it?
-What market segment will you be focused on? Small Group, Large Group, IFP?
-What things stand in the way of achieving your goals?
-When will you achieve each of the steps? What’s your timeline for making each goal happen?
M: Make your goals measurable
Whether you focus on increasing sales (measured by sold policies, enrolled employees and dependents, or premium dollars), boosting your market share, or increasing revenue by a target percentage, each of your goals needs to be something measurable. You must be able to answer questions like “How many? How much?”
Don’t be vague. Avoid undefinable goals. “Sell more business this year” is an example of what not to do. Although admirable, consider changing it up by adding a percentage increase. That will make it measurable. “Increase my Small Group sales by 25%,” or “increase my enrollments by 20%.” These are specific, measurable goals.
Be sure to track your progress: weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Doing so helps keep you on target. It can also give you a sense of achievement as the months progress.
A: Make your goals achievable
While you want to push yourself, you need to realistic in setting your goals. They need to attainable. Ask yourself “Can this goal realistically be accomplished?” “Is the timing reasonable?”
For you and your team, your goals need to represent a bump from 2022. But don’t overdo it. Ask yourself what’s needed to achieve each of your goals. Having a growth mindset will help you develop the attitude and skills needed to get there.
It may be obvious, but it’s important for you to write down each of your goals. Doing so will help you keep your goals list to a manageable number. Five may be a good target; however, more than seven could be too many.
R: Focus on relevance and results
Your goals each must represent something you are able and willing to work toward achieving. Only you (or you and your sales manager or you and your team) can determine your specific goals. Be certain each represents a substantial step forward from your prior achievements. Make sure each goal fits with the others.
T: Make each of your goals time-bound
Each of your goal needs to have its own target date or achievement timeline. Think about when you want to (or believe you can) complete each goal. That will force you to evaluate your goals separately – and consider whether each is a near-term or longer-term objective.
During your weekly or quarterly review, you may find you underestimated what’s required to reach one or more of your goals. Don’t worry about; that often happens. Changing the timeframe for achieving a goal is not a bad thing. If you make changes, just be SMART about it and follow the tips above.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an independent insurance sales professional, or part of sales team at a corporation, agency, or bank. Developing an annual, well-defined list of goals can help you stay focused as the year progresses. Your goals are like a road map, which can help drive you to success
No matter how hard you’re working, you could come up short on one or more of your 2023 goals. Don’t be discouraged. Learn from your mistakes. Try to avoid repeating them in the future. Think about what British statesman and former Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Your agency colleagues, family, and friends can help you push yourself to achieve your goals. Your General Agent may be of assistance, too. If you’re working with Word & Brown, ask your rep about all the tools and resources we offer that can help you be more successful in 2023.
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