But, we are not done yet. Remember, I said there were two things to consider. The second is: “What will it cost everyone to achieve this?”

One of the counterweights to creating high expectations is understanding them through the perspective of cost. The problem is that achieving really high performance costs you something. These costs are usually in the nature of time, emotional energy and mental activity.

If this issue “increasing sales” existed in a vacuum, and was the only thing your group had to do, then the costs would be reasonable. But, that never happens. The reality is, when you expect high performance in some area, you must also expect to pay the price in some other area.

In this example you want your group to increase their sales by 25 percent. In order to do so, they need to invest more time, more energy and more mental activity in that task than they did in the past. From where is it going to come? Less prospecting? Less time servicing current accounts? Attending fewer sales meetings? Spending less time with family? The cost has to come from somewhere.

Let me boil all of this down. The next time you are tempted to create exceedingly high expectations for yourself or others, stop and do a little analysis. Ask yourself, “What has to change for us to accomplish this?” and “What is it going to cost us in time, emotional energy and mental activity?”

If, on the basis of your thoughtful analysis, the expectation still seems attainable, then go for it. If the answers to those questions seem to conspire together to make the expectation less likely, then perhaps you should change your expectation to something more in sync with reality.

Dave Kahle is one of the world's leading sales authorities. He's written 10 books, presented in 47 states and 10 countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations.  Educate, motivate, and inspire your sales force by having Dave speak at your next meeting. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine, and to access Dave's training, insights and tools online, visit The Sales Resource Center.

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Do You Set Realistic Sales Goals?