How to Achieve Your Most Crucial Sales Goals

Every sales person wants to make more money and increase their sales. In this post, Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training applies the Emotional Cycle of Change to achieving crucial sales goals in particular, including how to anticipate the most difficult stages of the change and actually achieve your desired results.

The Emotional Cycle of Change

When people set new goals, they usually fail. Part of the reason for this failure is not knowing how to anticipate the most difficult stages of change. Successful endeavors mark that the person who achieved his/her goals has learned how to push past psychological barriers.

Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training does help sales people set new goals for themselves and their careers, but we don’t expect everyone to be able to moderate themselves all the time. Instead, our corporate sales training applies the Emotional Cycle of Change (as defined by Don Kelley and Daryl Conner) to sales training in particular.

The Emotional Cycle of change consists of five emotional stages that people move through when changing their behavior in attempt to reach their goals:

  1.             Uninformed Optimism
  2.             Informed Pessimism
  3.             Valley of Despair
  4.             Informed Optimism
  5.             Success and Fulfillment

The Stages of Emotional Change

Uninformed Optimism

The first stage of change, Uninformed Optimism is usually the most exciting. In this stage, our corporate sales training has asked the sales person to set your goals, and the sales person imagines all of the benefits of the changed behavior, but you haven’t yet experienced any of the costs. Our emotions are driven by uninformed optimism. This stage is fun because you are brainstorming ideas and strategizing how you might create the new level of results that you desire. Unfortunately, this stage doesn’t last long because right afterward, when the you actually starts to work toward his/her goals, an emotional shift occurs.

Informed Pessimism

As you learn more about the reality of the effort it takes to change, positive emotions can quickly turn. This stage, Informed Pessimism, is characterized by a shift to negative emotions because the costs of the change have become apparent, and the benefits no longer seem as real, important, or immediate. It’s at this stage that the goal-setter begins to consider abandoning the effort.

Valley of Despair

Things can get even worse: our corporate sales training calls the third stage of the Emotional Cycle of Change the Valley of Despair. This is when most people give up. Here, they feel the pain of change and the benefits seem far away or less important. The easy way to end it is to revert to the old way of doing things.

At this stage, having a compelling vision is critical to progress.

At Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training, we coach how to push through this Valley of Despair. We teach how to combine wanting passionately to reach your vision, commitment to success, and the tools and events of process control. The want, commitment, and control will get you to the next stage of change.

Informed Optimism

The fourth stage of the Emotional Cycle of Change is Informed Optimism. At this stage, your likelihood of success is much higher because you’ve pushed through the valley and you’re back in the positive emotional area of the cycle. In addition, your labors start to become benefits, and the costs of change are lessened because your new thoughts and actions are becoming routine. The key to passing successfully through this stage is to not stop.

Success and Fulfillment

The fifth and final stage of emotional change is Success and Fulfillment. This is when the benefits of your new behaviors are fully experienced, and the costs of change are basically gone. The new actions, which at the beginning of the cycle were difficult and uncomfortable, have now become routine.

Each time you complete the cycle, you not only build your capacity but also your confidence. You can move on to your next change that you want to implement with great assurance of success. By being aware of the Emotional Cycle of Change, negative emotions are less likely to derail you because you can better anticipate them, and thereby expect and manage any of your own negativity.

Establishing Your Vision

If we want to generate the emotional energy necessary to achieve a goal, we need to have big, visualized dreams. Don’t think “How?” Think, “What if…?”

Start with your long-term aspirations: Where do you want to be ten years from now? Next, take some time to think about what you would be willing to attempt if you knew you could not fail.

In Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training, we now focus on your twelve-week goal.

Identify Your Goal

We set two types of goals for the twelve-week period: the first is an income goal, which is either how much you will earn or how much revenue you will create. The second type is the key metric you will achieve. Some examples of key metrics include these:

  1. Improving your close rate
  2. Improving the average deal stage
  3. Number of appointments established with the targets (key accounts, prospects, etc.)

Map Your Goal

Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training supports the idea that the more specific you can be when setting a goal, the more likely that you are to actually achieve it. For this reason, the goals you set must be SMART goals: they should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic stretch, and time-bound.

Your Income Goal

What is your income goal? How much will you earn? (This number can be a percentage increase or an actual dollar amount.) List your income goal here.

Example: I will increase my commissions from $6,000 (in the past 12 weeks) to $10,000  within the next 12 weeks.

Key Metric

What is your key metric? How will you measure your accomplishment? Some examples of key metrics are the following:

  • close rate
  • average deal stage
  • number of appointments created with targets

Identify Your Goal

Now comes the time to actually set your goal. You should write your goal in the following format:

From [X] to [Y] by [when].


Program on Persuasion supports the idea that the more specific you are with your exact achievements, the more likely you are to stay on track. For this reason, our corporate sales training finds it crucial to identify the Emotional Cycle of Change as well as chart your progress on the way to achieving your goal. We also coach you through the five stages of the Emotional Cycle of Change—including the most difficult ones—so that you can actually achieve your most crucial sales goals.


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