How to Create a Personal Income Goal (Like a True High-Achieving Sales Professional)

“What’s your personal income goal?”

It’s a question I ask all of my clients who are sales professionals. Some of them have an exact number in their heads. Some have a vague idea of “more.” Some are just trying to hit last year’s numbers. But almost none of them know exactly where they stand, from month to month, in relation to their goal.

I’ve worked with many sales professionals in my career as an entrepreneur, owner/operator, and now coach to the high achiever, and I find that most lowball themselves when it comes to establishing a personal income (PI) goal that reflects their true potential.

But with the right tools and discipline, the growth they achieve is amazing. One high achiever I work with, in fact, is now on schedule to earn twice his 2015, six-figure PI. He had that potential within him the whole time; he just didn’t know it.

I can’t go into all of the details that enabled him to break through in a single blog post, but I’ll share a couple keys to his success:

Keep Your Motivation in Mind

Although it’s only one measure of personal and professional success, setting a personal income goal isn’t ultimately about the money. It’s really about what you’re trying to accomplish.

Are you trying to pay off a car? Do you need to put money aside for a child’s college tuition or to take care of a parent? Are you planning your dream vacation, saving for a house or adding to your retirement account? The emotional connection to personal goals is what motivates the high achiever. 

Identify and Conquer Your ANTs

ANTs are automatic negative thoughts. ANTs and insecurities, when not dealt with properly, will ultimately prevent anyone from realizing their full potential.

Often, sales professionals have a voice in their head that says they’re not worthy of making big money; their past challenges, failures, and deficiencies haunt them.

So what do we do to crush the demons holding us back? We make a list of our ANTs and insecurities, then we ask ourselves a very important question: Is it true?

Are you really not worthy or capable of accomplishing and earning significantly more? The answer is typically, “Of course that’s not true.” If the answer is yes for any of your ANTs or insecurities, that “yes” typically reveals a development need—which you can address enabling you to move beyond the insecurity for good, rather than admitting defeat.

Create Your Annual Personal Income Road Map

Something most sales professionals don't have (or use) is a detailed plan that allows them to see how their sales performance translates to their personal income. 

This month-by-month road map should reflect the details of what a successful year looks like, from the beginning of the fiscal year all the way through the end, incorporating product/service mix and cyclical trends and tying it all together with the compensation formulas that determine how they ultimately get paid. 

In other words, it shows you exactly what you have to accomplish in each and every month in order to realize your personal income goals.

The compensation calculator gives a rep the ability to create multiple scenarios for achieving their PI goal. For instance, if there is a month or a quarter where your performance is down, the compensation calculator allows you to make adjustments to the plan and quickly see how that impacts your PI for the balance of the year.

This is really a predictive modeling tool that helps sales professionals visualize how they, too, can break through to their next level of performance. Providing this tool for a sales team is leadership’s responsibility, but often the sales leaders themselves haven’t had much experience developing or using one.

Direct, Don’t Drift (Using the Compensation Calculator)

Without alignment between personal goals, PI road map, and doing the actual hard work of sales, you will drift off track throughout the year.

The compensation calculator (your PI road map) allows you to create visibility about your current year-to-date performance according to your plan. The goal is to be directed and focused—and when you drift, you see it almost immediately, enabling you to get back on track very quickly.

The consistently high achiever always knows exactly where they are in relation to their PI goal. Not only does this improve performance, but also confidence, because it puts the high achiever in control of their own financial destiny.

Rather than panicking towards the end of the year thinking you don’t have enough runway to make up for a poor quarter, you’ll be clear-eyed (and clear-headed) the whole year and able to make critical adjustments thoughtfully and with the appropriate urgency.

Stronger Mental Discipline

Why don’t more people do this? Many people struggle with self-examination. Even critical thinkers have a hard time turning the magnifying glass on themselves and their own performance, attitudes, and behaviors. It’s like avoiding opening a credit card statement because you’re afraid of what you’ll see, instead of facing the reality and plotting a course toward the life you want to lead.

The high-performing sales professional in my example had to work through some head trash to achieve his breakthrough, but is now on track to double his 2015, six-figure PI.

If hearing the particulars of this story would help you or your partners, send me a note or give me a call: and (414) 315-0523. You can also get on my calendar directly for a free coaching discovery call.

My background

My career path started out at IBM before moving on to start, build and eventually sell two technology service companies. From there, I’ve been a global channel development partner, and personal/corporate achievement coach helping leaders and teams break through to the next level. 

See what past and present clients have to say about our work together or check out additional blogs and podcasts .

Phil Mydlach

Phil Mydlach is a high-performance executive coach who shows people and companies how to break through to their next level of ability, growth, and performance. He partners with them as they lean into their edge to confront the fears that are holding them back.

Print Friendly and PDF