Business Toolbox: Setting and Reaching Your Goals, Part II

The second installment in this series shows you how to make your goals attainable.

March 1, 2011

In last month’s column, I offered some tips on how to establish and achieve goals for your business. Here are some more suggestions on how to accomplish your aims.

Set Deadlines

Your goals should have due dates. Without a date, you may procrastinate. Setting deadlines for your goals will remind you of the need to stay focused and help you work hard at achieving your dreams.

Break Your Goals Into Smaller, Bite-Size Objectives

Many notable authors and public speakers who focus on goal setting will tell you that breaking your goals into smaller ones is important. For example, let’s say one of your goals is to build a Web site for your real estate business. Rather than trying to have a completed, fully functional Web site by a certain date, try breaking this goal into smaller ones, such as choosing a vendor and determining your site’s architecture, with their own specific deadlines.

You can apply this same concept to reaching a certain dollar production for a given period of time in your real estate career. If you want to earn a particular amount of money this year, then set smaller goals to help fuel the train down the tracks. Knock on a certain number of doors this week, contact a specific amount of people in your sphere of influence today, and so on. Along the way, remember this saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Make Sure Goals Are Measurable

Often I will hear someone in one of my seminars tell me that they want to be a better real estate agent this year. Or, they might say their goal is to be a better parent. Those are good aspirations, but unfortunately they are goals that cannot easily be measured. How can you define or measure being a better real estate agent or parent?

You can’t, so you have to structure your goal to make it measurable. If you closed X number of transactions last year, then how many transactions or how much money do you need to make this year to qualify as a better real estate pro in your mind? What new activities could you do this year with your children to become a better parent? By assigning a number to specific tasks, you now have something you can measure to determine if you made your goal or not.

Put Goals in Writing

Research shows that only a small percentage of people put their goals in writing. Writing your goals down is powerful and can be a huge factor in determining whether you achieve them. I love the story from the book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School. Author Mark McCormack studied the 1979 graduating class and found that only 3 percent of the class had written goals when they left Harvard. Ten years later, those 3 percent were making 10 times more money on average than the entire graduating class. McCormack concluded that their clear, precise vision on what they wanted from life after Harvard was the reason for their success.

Read Your Goals Daily

I once heard a famous motivational speaker encourage me to read my goals the first thing in the morning and before I retired to bed at night. Reading your goals every day to remind yourself what your vision and intended destination are keeps you focused on achieving your goals.

In Closing

When I think about goals and goal setting, I’m always reminded of a story I heard years ago as a young real estate pro: Three people standing on a hilltop planned to walk down the hill and through a valley and climb a mountain in the distance. The first person said he was going to attempt the feat blindfolded. Off he went to reach the other mountain peak with his blindfold on. Unfortunately, he became lost and never made it to the destination. The second individual bragged about his attempt to reach the target by walking backwards. But he spent most of his time wandering and zigzagging about as he became disoriented by focusing on his past failures and problems. The final individual had told the group that he was not going to the other mountain peak blindfolded or even walking backwards. He raised his hand and pointed to the intended target, exclaiming, “I’m walking over there!” As you might guess, he made the destination.

Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always succeed in the end. Sometimes circumstances we have no control over arise and prevent us from reaching our goals. When that happens, pick yourself up, wipe the dust off, and begin a journey toward a new set of revised goals. The important point is to always have aims, both long-term and short-term. By following this process, I am confident you will succeed in anything you set your mind to. Best of luck!

John D. Mayfield, ABR, CRB, e-PRO, GRI, is a sales coach, author, and broker/owner of Mayfield Real Estate in Farmington, Mo. You can contact Mayfield through his Web site,