Setting goals for the coming year can be quite a challenge, says Robert A. Kaiser, president of Kaiser Financial Group in Fanwood, N.J., and making sure they are formalized and written down will help. But the biggest challenge with setting goals, he continues, is the development of the action plan necessary to get you going in the right direction.
David Bryant, a registered representative with Farmers Financial Solutions in Tulsa, Okla., agrees. He has been following a goal-setting process all his life. “Most importantly, you need a roadmap on how to accomplish your goals,” he says.
For example, Bryant explains that for an agent who is looking to close 100 life cases in 2004, the task needs to be broken down systematically. “If you do 10 a month, youll hit that goal by October,” he says. Based on this number, the agent has to figure out how many appointments need to be made, how many calls need to be made and how many letters need to go out to generate that amount of business.
Most successful agents agree it is best to set attainable goals based on activity, rather than focus on revenue. “The majority of my goals are activity based,” says James Connell Jr., of Connell Financial Group, LLC, Camillus, N.Y. In the past, Connell would set revenue goals and it seldom worked for him. “If one month goes by and you dont hit the dollar amount, and then another month goes by, you lose track of why you set the goals in the first place,” he says.
Furthermore, Connell says he would start thinking about setting these goals in December, but because the end of the year was so busy he wouldnt get to it until January. As a result, by February he was already falling behind.
This year, Connell is being much more diligent, and his first short-term goal is to have all his activity goals developed and an action plan in place by the first week of January. “Thats the hardest partto actually get a plan in place,” he says.
An important element in goal setting is to make sure there is some type of reward system in place to help motivate you to reach your goals, Connell adds.
“The reward system has to be something to make meeting a short-term goal worthwhile,” he explains, “whether its taking my wife out to dinner or doing something special with the kids.”