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All things Pharma

Think big – the benefit of unrealistic expectations

Are you on track to meet your targets for the first quarter of 2010? Maybe you need to set yourself a bigger goal. Motivational speaker Dave Hyner explains.

The early part of a new year is the perfect time to be setting goals, both personal and professional. What do you want to achieve? Although losing weight, getting healthier and spending more time with friends and family are all popular resolutions, ‘exceed my sales targets’ should also feature among many Pf reader’s goals for 2010.

As the weeks progress, how far have you come? Have you made the impact you were hoping to make? It is not uncommon to start the year full of enthusiasm, but lose all motivation amidst the cold and dark of the winter months.

Could it be that you are not setting the right targets? It’s time to refresh those good intentions with a whole new approach.

Aspiring to mediocrity

The common mantra when setting any goal, like a sales target, is to come up with something ‘realistic’ and ‘achievable’. Conventional wisdom suggests this is better, because it means the goals are easier to hit. It also says the alternative – setting a massive, amazing goal – can be demoralising when people realise it’s out of their reach.

In reality, while that may be true for some, it just sets the majority of people up for mediocrity – at best. How could anyone be truly inspired and motivated by something that is within their reach? And don’t be fooled into thinking realistic, achievable targets can’t be equally demoralising. The lack of inspiration can be just as de-motivating – imagine how it would feel to set a realistic goal and then not achieve it!

So if realistic goals can be demoralising, is there really any point in setting them? Pharmaceutical sales is no different. In fact, the need for a massive goal in such a pressurised, competitive environment could not be greater.

The rewards of a successful sales career within the pharmaceutical sales industry can be huge, but this means there are more people willing to aim for them – and to do what they have to to get there. But there is a way to be number one, without being completely ruthless. I base this assertion on years of speaking to top achievers, from various fields including sport, business and academia. They all have one thing in common – they set themselves a massive goal and refused to give up until they reach it. And then they set themselves another one.

Case studies: leading by example

One example is sales professional Geoff Cox, who had set up a networking group called Network2Connect. He implemented our goal-setting technique – despite being sceptical about it – and transformed his fledgling business into an international company, with a global reach through the website (www.network2connect.com). He’d quadrupled his business in one year alone.

As a young man, Poundland founder Steve Smith was told to get a job and a haircut or leave home. He set up a market stall selling items for £1, to the ridicule of friends and fellow traders. He experienced more ridicule when he opened the first Poundland store in Burton-upon-Trent in 1990 – they said costs would be too high and the prices would give the goods a poor image. Today Poundland has over 70 stores around the country, employs over 2800 people and has turnover of more than £160 million.

Sport is a field where goal-setting has a major role to play. The late Emlyn Hughes OBE is a fine example of this. As a child, he set himself the goal of playing football for England. However, he was considered too small to play football, so he lied about his age to get into teams of older players, which made him stronger than those in his own age group. It also made him a fierce tackler, and earned him the nickname ‘Crazy Horse’. His determination and drive took him into the Liverpool and England sides of the late 1970s and early 1980s, becoming captain of both and the most successful English footballer of all time before his retirement in 1981. By that time he had played for England 62 times and won 14 trophies, despite being ‘too small’ to play football.

Yet another example is author Andy Cope, who is now a best-selling children’s writer after applying the Massive Goals Principle. He was a college lecturer, with the dream of writing a children’s book about his pet dog, Lara. His first novel ‘Spy Dog’ was published in 2005, and this has since developed into a hugely successful series of books, beating JK Rowling to win the Red House Children’s Book Award in 2006. Andy is now an author, trainer, accomplished professional speaker and positive psychologist.

While these are truly remarkable individuals, there is no reason why we can’t all emulate their success.

Five steps to success

1. The first thing is to decide what the goal is. What does it look like? How will it feel to get there? Some people choose an expensive sports car, or a mansion, or an exotic holiday. Others choose security for their family, or a better work-life balance. The important thing is to make it specific, tangible, and quantifiable. If you need help with this, think about people you admire – particularly those who have succeeded in pharmaceutical sales. How did they get to the top? Can you take anything from their experience and apply it to your own goal-setting? What about Asa Candler, the man who brought Coca-Cola to a global audience, who started out as a pharmaceutical salesman and manufacturer? Or perhaps there is someone a bit closer to home?

2. Secondly, think about the process. The best approach with a massive goal is to break it down into bite-size chunks. Once the building blocks have been created, commit to doing something each month to help you hit the ultimate target.

3. You must hold yourself accountable to your commitments. Without accountability your massive goal will soon fall by the wayside. This is why the mini-goals have to be measurable. But they don’t necessarily have to be connected to sales – it could be something as simple as contacting former clients and prospects, or reading a book from an industry expert. In other words, they can be related to the personal developments which will help you reach your ultimate goal, or generate more leads.

4. Develop some landmarks to achieve along the way. This makes it easier to gauge progress and prove the goal is becoming closer.

5. And bring in some fun, incentives or rewards to help you. The journey may become difficult at times, but a reward, such as a gift for yourself, or a city break to somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, will help to focus the mind and keep you on the path.

Follow these five steps and I guarantee you will hit the heights – it really is that simple! Just be clear on what you want to achieve and what you need to do to get there. This is the only way you will become the number one pharmaceutical salesperson in your company or therapy area. If you continue to set achievable goals you will only ever get to mid-table, and you’ll never reach your full potential.

Let’s make 2010 your most successful year ever!

Dave Hyner is a Staffordshire-based motivational speaker, and Managing Director of Stretch Development. He has travelled the world to deliver keynote addresses on his research into top achievers in sport, business and academia.

A wide range of case studies and testimonials, along with a video of David in action, are available at the Stretch Development website: www.stretchdevelopment.com.

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