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Monday, 3 March 2014

You should NEVER set Sales TARGET

“Sales“ is an astonishing field no matter which industry you belong to. There is a notion amongst buyers that most salespeople are liars. In fact when I talk to salespeople most salespeople feel and believe they are liars. I would imagine with such a thought a sales person would come across numerous challenges when selling.

Anyways, let me focus on the topic in hand and that is sales TARGET. We all know in sales the importance of having a TARGET. The whole purpose of a setting sales TARGET is to reward an individual’s performance and more importantly it is there to help a business plan its growth. So, having a sales TARGET is crucial to the success of the individual and certainly the business.

Yet through numerous interactions with sales people I discovered that most of sales people hate sales TARGET. In fact if it were up to them they would get rid of the darn sales TARGET. On closer examination it was evident it was the word TARGET that scared them more. In fact most felt whenever someone says TARGET in any context they only relate it to sales. It is interesting how the word TARGET has such a strange effect on them.

When asked how come they hate the word TARGET or are scared (frightened, worried, nervous) of it I get responses such as:
  •  “The word feels as if I have to shot someone with an arrow or a gun”.
  •  “I feel as if I am part of a firing squad, out there to execute people”.
  •  “I really feel threatened as if I am attacking someone with a weapon”.
The list is endless and I am sure you get the message. This is one of the reasons I strongly believe sales is all about Soul Based Service Excellence, which not about a transaction, it is about creating a positive customer service experience for your customer.

When we look at the word TARGET it means as per
  • A person, object, or place selected as the aim of an attack. For example the airport terminal was the target of a bomb or a military target. 
  • mark or point at which one fires or aims, especially a round or rectangular board marked with concentric circles used in archery or shooting
  • A person or thing against whom criticism or abuse is directed
Just looking at these definitions will make you wonder how crazy we are to use the word TARGET when it comes to sales.  Firstly, most buyers view salespeople as liars and secondly, these liars have been given targets. Now that comes across as very negative and dangerous.

The question arises what could we replace this sales TARGET with so that the stress, worry, pressure is minimised for the sales person thus allowing the sales person to perform in a productive manner to achieve great sales.

Here are a few options to consider rather then saying TARGET:
  1. The first word comes to mind is AIM. Although it could mean determine a course, direct an effort or propose to do something but it also could mean direct a weapon. So, we possibly could be going in circles with this one.
  2. Then the word GOAL comes to mind. This means purpose toward which an endeavour is directed; an objective. This certainly is a strong contender for a replacement word.
  3. I read somewhere to use the term MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE SALES PERFORMANCE. This is an interesting concept and could certainly work.
  4. PURPOSE is another word, which would mean to an intended or desired result. And we know is sales we are looking for a desired result.
  5. The word DESTINATION seems very interesting. When we look at this word it means place to which one is going or directed, purpose for which something is destined or a place worthy of travel. Certainly, we could uses this as a replacement as now we are on a journey and we all know journeys can be extremely adventurous, especially in sales.
The above is just some food for thought. You may have your own thoughts on what would be a suitable replacement and if so please share it with me by emailing me on

Replace your TARGET with one of the above or something you feel comfortable with. You will certainly see the emotional state of yourself and your team change to a positive one. This will surely lead them to focus on the customer needs and wants rather than seeing a customer as a TARGET. Because with a replacement in place with ease and comfort you and your team will perform in a positive productive manner to achieve awesome sales.