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The Importance of Individual Sales Goals Give your salespeople personalized attention so they perform at their peak.

By Tom Hopkins

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Achieving sales volume goals for your business is one of the biggest challenges any owner faces. Many factors beyond your control can affect that final number--the economy, the weather, the competition. But one manageable factor is the people in direct contact with your clients--your sales team.

Some business owners ask every person on the team to meet the same sales goals. That's the easiest thing for a busy entrepreneur to do. But not everyone is capable of achieving at the same level. Some salespeople are better with a certain product; others work best with a certain type of client. You just can't get away from these complicated variables.

Since your business is so powerfully impacted by these variables, you should master the art of flexibility. Smart business owners work with each person on their staff to discuss what's expected of them to keep the business growing. Each person must be evaluated based on his or her skills, knowledge and interests.

It's wise to set an overall company goal so you all know what you're trying to achieve. It's also a good practice to step back every now and then to look at the big picture of your business as it relates to that goal and look for things you can do to reach the goal. It's also critical to let your sales personnel in on your company goal so they can understand where they fit into your plans.

Your salespeople are crucial to growing your business, and to get the results you want, you should meet with them eyeball-to-eyeball (or, at the very least, in a phone meeting) once a month. This should only take five to 10 minutes per person per month, and the results you'll see will be worth the effort.

Begin your monthly meetings by thanking your team members for their service to the business. Review how they did with their sales last month, and ask them if they're pleased with their numbers. Then ask what they might do differently if they had an opportunity to go back 30 days and relive that month over again. Often, both you and your salespeople will be surprised by some of the creative answers they come up with. Use that information to move forward in setting some new goals.

Let your salespeople be in control of their goals by asking what their income goal is for the next six months. Then break that figure down into monthly goals. Ask if that monthly amount seems reasonable to them. When they confirm that it does, show them how many sales they must generate to achieve that goal. Again, have them commit to their belief in that goal being achievable.

To finish up, talk about special offers or promotions that you're implementing so your salespeople can work them into their sales plans. Always end these planning meetings by asking what you could provide your salespeople along the lines of product knowledge or selling skills education to help them continue to grow and achieve their goals with your business.

This type of personal involvement in setting achievable goals for your salespeople always works in your favor. You'll get to know what they believe they can do. They'll get to know what you hope they'll achieve. And best of all, when they know you care enough to help them set individual, personalized goals, they'll do their best to outperform your expectations.

Tom Hopkins is world-renowned as "the builder of sales champions." For the past 30 years, he's provided superior sales training through his company, Tom Hopkins International.

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