How to Set (and Smash) a Sales Goal for the New Year


This year is almost to a close, which means it’s time to begin a new sales calendar year. There are still a few days left to hit or exceed your sales goals, so you should be laser focused on getting it done for this year. However, it’s also a great time to focus on your strategy for next year in terms of planning your sales goals. Goals should not be made on a whim…they should be carefully thought of and should be conducive to personal growth and professional success. With only a few days left, now is the time to seriously start looking ahead.

There are many different ways that you can set sales goals. Maybe it’s a number that is set in stone that you have to hit by the end of the year, or perhaps it’s a resolution to change a core behavior that will lead to a better year. Regardless of your personal and professional goals & resolutions, we have typed up a little “how-to” guide on proper goal setting, along with some tips and tricks to aid you in going above and beyond in reaching your goal.

Set Short Term Goals

Some people benefit from one singular number that they must hit before the year is over. If they want to exceed $1,000,000 in sales, they set that as their overarching goal and do their best to make sure that they exceed it. In my personal opinion, this method is slightly demoralizing for the first half of the year. If you set a goal for $1.1 million in sales, that can seem very overwhelming and out-of-reach during the first few months of the year. Not only that, but it’s difficult to visualize where you want to be at certain points during the year. I would argue that it’s better to set short-term goals that are tied in with your long-term goal.

For example, if you want to exceed $1 million in sales this year, break that number down to a monthly sales figure that you have to hit. Maybe winter is usually a great season for your business, so you set your January sales goal to $300k, while summer is slower, so you set a June goal of $100k. This way, it breaks down that scary $1 million goal in to easily obtainable and smaller segments. It will also allow you to see how you are doing on a month-to-month basis, which allows for changes in behavior and tweaks in your process if you see that you are missing your smaller short-term goals.

Examine How Last Year Went

Look at your sales goal from last year. Did you exceed your goal, or did you miss it? Examine what you did during the year in terms of both your wins and your losses. See what worked for you, and what did not work. History always repeats itself, so if you see that you have some behaviors last year that led to you missing your goal, now is the time to change it so history doesn’t repeat itself! See what behaviors contributed to your success and amplify those next year. It’s difficult to really examine yourself and see what you did right and wrong, but if you are 100% honest with yourself, I bet you will find some habits & behaviors from last year that you can tweak.

Also, if your goal was $1 million last year and you exceeded that, try setting a goal that will force you to work harder and will lead to an improvement, such as $1.2 million.

Write Down your Goal and Share it with Coworkers/Bosses

Keeping your goals a secret is not a good idea. If you keep it a secret, who will hold you accountable if you miss it? It’s easy to change it in your head if nobody knows about it. If you tell your manager “I want to hit $1 million this year,”  they will be holding you to that. This will lead you to work harder because that $1 million goal is now something that is connected to you as an employee or coworker.

According to the Forbes magazine article Six Ways To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick, by Nancy L. Anderson, “In a study on goal-setting at the Dominican University of California, one group of study participants wrote their goals down and shared them with friends. This group’s success rate was high — 62% had achieved their goals or were halfway there, compared to the 43% who only thought deeply about the goals and rated their difficulty and importance.”

Pick One Game-Changing Behavior or Habit to Improve

We all have behaviors that hurt us in business. It’s human to be imperfect. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a terrible procrastination habit, which is absolutely horrible to have if you work in sales and business. For me, a big game changer is to scrap the procrastination and to set a tighter time frame to help accomplish my task in a timely manner. I truly believe that this will be a game-changing behavior and will lead to me exceeding my goal next year. If you examine yourself and find that you have a behavior or habit that is your personal “Achilles heel,” make the commitment to change it.

Create Yourself a Consequence for Missing your Goal

I don’t know where psychologists fall on the whole debate of negative consequences vs positive reinforcement, but for me personally, if there is any form of negative consequence tied to something, I do my best to stop that from happening. One of my friends told me that last year on January 1st, he wrote his boss a check for $1,000 that was dated for Christmas day of that year. He said that if he missed his sales goal, his boss could cash the check. This guy hates losing money – he would cry if someone cashed a $1,000 check. The entire year, that was on the forefront of his mind, and he worked as hard as he could to avoid his boss from cashing that check. He hit the sales goal and he delighted in his boss ripping up the check.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you are someone who responds better to positive reinforcement, consider creating yourself a positive experience for hitting your goal, such as taking a vacation or buying yourself something nice. Whatever helps you work harder, create the consequence (positive or negative), share it with others, and stick to it.

Create Momentum by Starting the Above Right Now

Have you ever heard someone make a resolution or a goal to start exercising “starting next week” or “starting the 1st of next month”? This is a terrible way to gain momentum, which makes actually starting on your goal that much more difficult. If you start doing the above right now and not waiting until January 1st, you will start to gain your momentum and will roll in to the new year with more vigor than those who choose to wait. Keep working hard and start on your resolutions right now; you will thank yourself come January 1st.

Set yourself up for success next year by doing all of the above. Goal setting is extremely important for success in sales, marketing, and business. Make sure you do it correctly and take the steps to exceed that goal! Let’s all start the next year off with a bang and break some records.



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Author: Jason Karaman

Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service author, blogger and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife. I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to

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