The Power of Five-Creating Personal Financial Goals

In the world of sales you don’t hear many people talking about or discussing ‘personal financial goals’. Know why? Sales managers don’t cover it, companies don’t understand the importance of those goals and salespeople themselves would rather not because of that pesky word accountability. Personal financial goals is one of the 5 basic elements of sales success. Without PFG’s how do salespeople know how much they need to sell? What their sales activities need to be? I can make a strong case that PFGs are the key to success in sales.

Another way to look at this is to ask yourself this question: “How much does it cost you to wake up every day?” Ah, well let’s see. Exactly. Did I ever do this when I was a sales cub? No! My financial goals were usually dictated by the ‘sales targets’ the company set for me. If the target was a million dollars in sales and my commission was 6% on all sales then my income was $60,000 for that year. (That was some decent lettuce in the 70’s folks!) Depending on my tax bracket I knew the approximate net and that was what I had to spend on the basics to keep the family from food stamps.

In a naïve way I guess this makes sense. From a logical, long-term, financially secure perspective this makes no sense. Personal financial goals consist of two ingredients. One is the monthly costs to live. Two is what it costs to bring your dreams to life. Dreams do not include a Lamborghini parked in the driveway. OK, they could include it but it would be way down the list of common sense dreams. Translate dreams to: short-term (5 years) financial goals and long-term financial security. This is the easy part.

Translating these to daily sales activities and then into dollars requires intimate knowledge of planning, your market place, the products you sell, competition, prospecting methods, sales metrics, average revenue per sale, and a sales process. Several of these will appear in later posts over the next several weeks.

Between the ages of 22 and 30 very little of this registers on the conscious mind of a salesperson. Some of it begins to trickle in during the 30’s and that is a mistake. Here’s why. Around a salesperson’s mid thirties is when many salespeople begin to make some serious money. (I don’t see a distinction on gender here. I could probably make a case that women get there faster than men.) That will continue into the 40’s until around age 45. Call it a ten-year window of high earning potential. Does it end after that? No, but other things occur concurrently. Child raising, schools, sports, short-term goals (requiring money) and thoughts about funding college or part of it. Pesky thoughts of mortality may even enter into the mental mix. What people do with their money in this time frame is extremely important. Might as well say critical!

Creating personal financial goals therefore becomes a path to success both in the short-term as well as the long-term. This is not just a ten minute conversation with yourself in the shower. “Let’s see, for 2014 I need to earn around $90K give or take.” That WILL NOT CUT IT! Do yourself a favor and spend a day thinking about this topic. Start to wrap some numbers around your sales activities and goals. When you’re rounding age 60 entering the final glide you will be happy you spent the time pondering.

The End!

Pick up any shrink or self-help book and my guess is that before page 50 the author will tell you to “stay in the present”. I could not agree more. However! I’ll go back to my father for an example of someone who never lived in the past, present or future. To tell you the truth I’m not sure what he thought about, what he planned for, how he enjoyed life. Clearly, he never thought of the end. Even after he retired he still got dressed for work everyday. What the hell did my mother think when he showed up at the breakfast table in a white shirt, tie and suit coat! (Probably Show Me The Money)

I remember looking into my dad’s eyes as he was dying. I remember distinctly wondering what he was thinking about. His eyes seemed to carry the message I’m glad it’s over big guy, I’m tired. Or maybe he was wondering how he was going to fill the car up since he was flat broke.

OK, enough preamble. Regardless of your present age you need to carve time out of your life and begin to think about the end of your life or more accurately what will your financial, emotional, and mental outlook be when you are close to the expiration date on living. Downer subject, huh? I don’t think so. There are no life do-overs so why not look back as life begins the last act and have the smile on your face that indicates “I did good”!

I don’t mean to turn this into bullet point mania but these thoughts are worth pondering:

  1. What do you really like to do? What turns your crank, so to speak?
  2. Do you do enough of that on a daily basis?
  3. How do you like to have fun? Will you always have time to do that down the road?
  4. How much money do you need to save now so you can enjoy life down the road.
  5. Are you a big company person, small company person, own your own company person?
  6. How do your strengths and weaknesses help and/or hinder you?
  7. What will your last thought(s) be right before you know that your time is up? (Might want to put this one first.)
  8. Are there specific objectives you want to achieve in your life?
  9. How do you want to impact your kids?
  10. Is there some action, document, thought you want to leave with your family?
  11. Who are you?

Consider this an exercise about successful living on your way to your expiration date. And since none of us know when that will be shouldn’t you be thinking about all these things N-O-W?