Plan Backwards

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The year has started and no doubt you have some plans in mind. You may have even done some formal planning. I have found the best way to make your plans actually happen is to plan backwards.

This method applies whether you are planning an event, a project, a sales target, or simply planning to by a house.

Dr Stephen Covey has as one of the seven habits of highly effective people to “Begin with the End In Mind.”

For us this means looking at what do we want to achieve and by when. For example, maybe you want to achieve $200,000 in sales this year. That is the goal, the target, the thing that keeps you inspired. I would be using language about that. “Project 200k”, tracking for 200k or something to ensure it keeps top of mind.

The next step is to work backwards. If you are wanting $200k this year then how much is that per month? Let’s face it, Jan and Dec are hard to get anything done (well Jan has already gone!) so you are looking at $20k of sales each month.

So let’s break that down even further by continuing to work backwards.

  • What is your average sale size?
  • How many proposals do you need to make a sale?
  • How many meetings do you need to get a request for proposal?
  • How many sales calls do you need for a meeting?

This will then set your daily plan for you and you will always know what to do.

For example, let’s assuming the following.

Your average sales size is $5,000. You historically send out three proposals to make a sale. You need two meetings to get a request for a proposal and make five sales calls to get a meeting request.

Working backwards, to reach $200,000 you need 40 sales of $5,000. Based on ten months this is four sales a month.

Each sale need three proposals, so that is 12 proposals a month or 3 a week. To get a proposal request, you need two meetings so that is six meetings a week. Each meeting takes five sales calls so that is 30 sales calls a week or six calls a day.

What this means is that to reach $200,000 you need to consistently make six phone calls a day.

This process works for all kinds of planning. If you are yet to plan your goals for the year, I strongly suggest you plan them backwards. If you do that, you can almost guarantee you will achieve the outcome you are after.