How do you hit an ‘impossible’ target?

This is post is taken from an edition of The Insight.

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… a friend called me, and asked if I could help a friend of his.

His friend was the UK Sales Director in a global insurance company, and he had a problem. He had a sales team of five. Their sales target had been raised from £1 million per person, to £1.5 million… overnight. Literally, as December 31st flipped into January 1st, their target was increasing by 50%.

When I chatted to the Sales Director, he said, “The guys only just scraped past the £1 million target, by the skin of their teeth, and next year is going to be tougher. The competition will be tougher. The market conditions will be tougher. The problem is… I don’t think they can do it, and nor do they. Can you help?”.

To give you some context, I was pretty early in my career. At the time I was working purely as a sport psychologist with elite athletes and sports teams. I’d never worked with a sales team before. So, I said, “I don’t know, but let’s give it a try. I’ll use exactly the same approaches I would use if they were athletes, and we’ll see what happens”.

We did a handful of sessions during the first quarter of the year to build the foundations of a great mental game. We enabled them to consistently focus on the right things at the right time… control their confidence… and master motivation. Once they had this foundation, they were able to embrace their Discomfort Zone, ‘release their mental hand-brake’, as I call it, and perform really well under pressure.

We got them to take control of their mental game; engineer the ‘positive spiral’ and avoid slipping down the ‘negative spiral’.

In my view, there’s nothing magical about this. I just gave them the tools to consistently perform at their best. It sounds simple, but it’s actually pretty rare. The truth is, most people don’t perform at their best every day. For the majority, it’s more like a rollercoaster. The good days are good, but the shitty days can be pretty shitty.

A lot of sales-people are great when they’re getting sales. Selling fuels their confidence and motivation. But what happens if they’re not selling? Can they stay confident and motivated when they hit a dry patch?

The result, for this particular team, is that they all sailed past their new target. In fact, the highest performer exceeded £2.5 million that year.


If you’d like to find out how to build the positive spiral, avoid sliding down the negative spiral and be at your best every day, check out Episode One of Be World Class TV (part of the World Class Mindset month).

To find out more, hit the link!