As you wrap up your peak season sales, enrollments, and servicing, it’s time to look at goal setting as you prepare for 2024.
A great place to start is to reflect on what worked, and what didn’t work, in 2023. Ask yourself a few key questions:
- Where are you, right now, on your sales goals?
- How does your current status compare to your goals?
- Did you meet (or will you meet when all is said and done) your goals?
- Did you exceed your sales goals?
Your review of your 2023 goals – and where you measure up 12 months later – is critical in helping you identify any shortcomings and being realistic about your 2024 goals.
According to leadsquared, individuals are 10 times more successful if they have goals (as compared to those without them). And those with written goals are three times more successful than those with unwritten goals.
One of the most effective methods for goal setting is to be SMART. That doesn’t mean just being intelligent about your goals but embracing 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 goals for next year.
S: Be specific in establishing your goals.
Map your strategy by asking yourself these additional questions:
- Who is involved? You alone? Or you working with others?
- What do you want to accomplish? What are your specific reasons or targeted benefits of achieving your goal?
- Where will it happen? At what location?
- Why is each goal important?
- What market segment will you focus on? Small Group? Large Group? IFP? If a combination, how will they be split? Evenly? Or by targeted percentage?
- What stands in the way of achieving each of your goals?
- When will you achieve each of the steps? What’s the timeline for making each goal happen?
M: Make your goals measurable.
Whether you plan to focus on increasing sales (measured by sold policies, enrolled employees and dependents, or premium dollars), boosting market share, or increasing revenue by a target percentage, each goal must be measurable. Answer the question, “How many? How much?” for reach goal.
Avoid undefinable goals. Don’t be vague. “Sell more business this year” is an example of what not to do. Consider changing it up by adding a percentage increase, which will make it measurable. “Increase my Small Group sales by 25%,” or “increase my enrollments by 20%.” Each of these is a specific, measurable goal.
Track your progress: weekly, monthly, and quarterly. This will help you stay on target. It can also give you a sense of achievement as the months progress. If you veer off track, knowing it right away gives you the opportunity to reconsider your goals and take corrective action.
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 sales team (if you manage one), goals need to represent a bump from 2023. However, it’s important not to overdo it. Think about what’s needed to achieve each goal. Having a growth mindset helps you develop the attitude and skills needed to get there.
It may be obvious, but it’s important to write down each of your goals. Doing so helps you keep your goals list to a manageable number. Four or five may be a good target; however, seven could be too many.
R: Focus on relevance and results.
Each goal must represent something you are able and willing to work toward. Only you (or you and your sales manager or you and your team) can determine your goals. Be certain each represents a substantial step forward from your prior achievements. Make sure each goal fits with others.
T: Make each of your goals time bound.
All of your goals need to have their own target date or achievement timeline.
Think about when you 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 monthly or quarterly review, you may find you underestimated what’s required to reach one or more of your goals. Don’t worry about it; 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 these same tips.
It doesn’t matter whether you are an independent insurance sales professional, or part of a sales team at a corporation, agency, or bank. Developing an annual, well-defined goals list can help you stay focused as you tear off the pages of the calendar (or check them off on your electronic calendar). Goals are a road map to help drive you to success.
Statistically, only about half (46%) of people keep their resolutions for at least six months. Just eight percent stick with them for the full year. Recognize as you work through the year that you may have to make tweaks or adjustments to your goals. Don’t be discouraged. Learn from your mistakes.
Whether you make it all year, or begin to make changes in the first, second, third, or fourth quarter, having a place from which to start can make a difference. It will help keep you on track.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, too. Your agency colleagues, family, and friends can help push you 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.
Watch next month for another post – this one focused on specificity in your 2024 goal setting.