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Smart Goals & Inspiration


“I need you to work with my sales team. I want them to stop being order takers. This is the most “frequent” request I receive from potential clients for my consulting services.

My typical response is:

“Do they have goals? Are their expectations defined, agreed upon, and most importantly, written down?

Goals for salespeople are not just numeric. Goals can be anything and I encourage goals to be broad and creative. I recommend all sales team members to have three to five written goals defined each year.

These goals must also be SMART. How do you make them SMART?

You write them down and ask yourself these questions as you detail each goal:

Specific - What do you want to accomplish with this goal?

Measurable - How are you going to know when you reach your goal?

Achievable - Is this goal possible based on your available resources?

Realistic - Why do you want to set this goal and what result do you want from it?

Timely - What deadlines do you need to set to feel successful and keep yourself on task?

How to begin

Start thinking about what goals you want for yourself and your team, have a brainstorming session and start writing down ideas. Let your team members come up with their own ideas. Each salesperson should always start with their annual sales goal and then develop two to four additional goals.

These goals can be professional growth as well as personal achievements. And work through these for a few weeks until they start making sense to both you and your team. Just write them down to make them real and make adjustments as time moves on.  

Remember goals can also be fluid. Life changes, things change, but don’t let them change to make the challenge easier. Keep pushing yourself and your team so that they ALL reach their goals! ¡Olé!


Futból is my favorite sport (soccer for us Americanos). I grew up in an Italian-American neighborhood in Upstate NY during the 1970s surrounded by passionate soccer fans. Playing street pickup games every summer night. Tagging along with my sister’s travel team every weekend.  Watching Pelé play the Rochester Lancers in August 1977. I couldn’t believe it; Pelé was in my town!  The soccer field was often a setting for several of my early life’s significant moments. To no surprise, futból became a significant player in my own recent goal setting.

In July 2014, I spent 10 days in Playa del Carmen, Mexico with my sister and a friend. We planned on enjoying margaritas, beach clubs, and the sun. What we did not realize was that we scheduled our trip during the World Cup which is the ultimate tournament for true futból fans to watch matches together.

Fortunately, we were in a country that worshipped the sport and surrounded by people that lived for the next game (the tournament was in South Africa; we watched in bars, on the beach, you name it). One day we were El Tri fans; the next day we were Team USA. It didn’t matter—it was just a ball surrounding ourselves with people that were so passionate about the sport.

What does this have to do with goals? Because travel, meeting people, developing friendships, and the beauty of memories of unexpected events makes one want to return to that place. I have been back many times now to Playa; each time enjoying new experiences while also visiting familiar places and friends.

It was on one such trip in January 2017 that I decided to set a new goal for myself … to start my own business.

I wanted to start my own consulting company. I drafted that goal on my terrace in Playa del Carmen. I wrote it down. I rewrote it. I made it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. It was SMART.

The “Beautiful Game” taught me to start working for the life I've always wanted. I can travel to Mexico and work there whenever I can. To be around people who have such a love for life. To train hard and work hard. To set goals and achieve goals. And to remember to keep score for myself and my achievements. Sure, there have been a few yellow cards, but no penalty kicks yet!

Photo courtesy Jen Perna

Now it’s April 2018. I’m on that same terrace in Playa del Carmen, sharing this story. Set your mind to it, work hard, and make it happen. Go for the GOAL. ¡Olé!

Jennifer Perna

Jennifer Perna

Owner, Fulton Market Consulting, Chicago, IL
Jennifer Perna started Fulton Market Consulting in May 2017 after developing an event experience and sales management experience portfolio for over 25 years in the downtown Chicago catering and special events industry. Jennifer presently works with owners, managers and all team players at hospitality-related companies on increasing sales and creating business development strategies, streamlining processes for operations and event production and developing best practices for human resources and administrative management. This is especially imperative as we continue to manage a diverse and young talented pool of employees today. Jennifer brings a dynamic, approachable and relatable communication style to all levels and members...