Mark Zokle | Goal Setting for Sales Professionals

Mark Zokle

It is not enough to simply want to succeed, says Mark Zokle, a nationally recognized sales trainer and manager. In this brief exchange, Zokle touches on a few points that can lead to triumph, but only for those willing to do the work.

A Gathering of Experts: Good afternoon, we thank you for taking your time to be with us today.

Mark Zokle: Anytime!

A Gathering of Experts: We would like to discuss the importance of setting goals. What would you consider the most important step in achieving sales objectives?

Mark Zokle: Just setting the goal! It might sound like a given, but many salespersons don’t actually define a point of success. Instead, they mentally note a vague target.

A Gathering of Experts: Which doesn’t work?

Mark Zokle: No, a goal must be specific and structured the right way.

A Gathering of Experts: How is that?

Mark Zokle: It must be quantifiable and realistic. If it’s not something that can actually be achieved in the timespan set forth, it becomes a tool of discouragement.

A Gathering of Experts: Can you give us an example of a well-structured goal? 

Mark Zokle: “I will close $500,000 in sales in six months’ time. I will do this by contacting 1,500 different prospects.”

A Gathering of Experts: 1,500?

Mark Zokle: Yes.

A Gathering of Experts: That sounds very difficult.

Mark Zokle: Not really. Over the course of six months, that comes out to just about 15 attempts a day…roughly half an hour.

A Gathering of Experts: Ok, when you put it that way it isn’t quite as imposing! Is there a best time to start making these calls?

Mark Zokle: The day you implement your plan. Getting over that initial set of calls is really half the battle.

A Gathering of Experts: What if you’ve gone a week or two and failed to even get a face-to-face meeting?

Mark Zokle: At that point, it’s time to reevaluate your tactics. Ask yourself what isn’t working. Are you focusing on the wrong products/services? Do you come off as pushy? Lack knowledge?

A Gathering of Experts: How does self-discipline play a part in sales?

Mark Zokle: The top 10% of sales people are those who can work without being told what to do; they understand they must remain focused.

A Gathering of Experts: What about doing other tasks?

Mark Zokle: Until those calls are made, it’s best to let everything else wait. Chances are that whatever it is can be put on the backburner for half an hour. If you score a longer call, make that your priority at the moment. Never tell a newly-interested prospect you’ll have to call them back to sell them something.

A Gathering of Experts: That’s sound advice. 

Mark Zokle: A trick I use is to set mini-goals for myself. Once I complete them, I get a small reward.

A Gathering of Experts: How do you feel about sharing goals with team members?

Mark Zokle: I highly encourage goal-sharing! They say that making your intentions known increases your chance of success by over 70%!

A Gathering of Experts: Wow.

Mark Zokle: It makes it about accountability. When you tell someone else that you are going to do something, you no longer have just yourself to report back to. People will ask you about your goals…no one wants to be that person who admits defeat!

A Gathering of Experts: That is a great point and surely a way to lead by example.

Mark Zokle: Right!

A Gathering of Experts: We appreciate your time today.

Mark Zokle: My pleasure.

A Gathering of Experts: Do you have anything closing words for our readers?

Mark Zokle: Just that being the person with a real commitment makes you 100x more valuable than someone who just has an interest in success.


  1. Mark Zokle gives great advice in this interview. I started my first sales job back in the 1970s and setting goals was the first thing my mentor told me to do. Mark Zokle was just a kid back in those days but it seems like that wisdom of the ages has passed down to his generation.

    • Mark Zokle says:

      Thank you so much for your kind comments. I’ve had many tutors and mentors in my life and learned so much from them. I think goal setting is just one of those common sense things that often gets overlooked.

  2. I really enjoyed what Mark Zokle had to say about accountability. This doesn’t necessarily relate to sales, but I have told my kids that numerous times. When you tell someone that you’re going to do something you’re much more likely to do it. Big thanks to Mark Zokle for saying the same thing here. Now I can show my kids that I am not crazy… at least not for that. I was excited to see that Mark Zokle also had a Twitter.

    • Mark Zokle says:

      Isn’t it funny how kids will listen to anybody but their parents? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the same thing.

  3. I was caught off guard when Mark Zokle mentioned the idea of contacting 1500 different prospects!!! I actually stopped reading at that point but came back later and read his explanation and the way he breaks it down. When Mark Zokle explained that it came out to just 15 phone calls per day it felt more realistic. I also like the trick Mark Zokle uses about setting mini goals. I think that will help me since I just took my first job in sales and marketing. Midafternoon coffee is a great reward idea.

    • Mark Zokle says:

      Whether it is your first job or you are an experienced sales professional, setting goals for yourself – and later for your team members when you are in management – is absolutely vital to your success. I wish you the best of luck. And yes, one of my favorite treats is a nice cup of coffee.

  4. I would like to follow up on what Mark Zokle said about self-discipline. It is not just in sales where self-discipline comes in handy. That is a vital skill that must be learned in order to be successful in any career whether you choose to be an educator, police officer, or whatever. Mark Zokle is also right about having to have enough self-discipline to avoid getting off task, especially when you are just making someone’s acquaintance.

    • Mark Zokle says:

      I agree with you completely that self-discipline is important no matter what job you choose to have. Fortunately, I have found that it is a skill that you can acquire as opposed to a trait that you must possess. I try to emphasize the power of self-discipline in my training sessions and hope that is one lesson my employees take away from our talks.

  5. I first came across this interview with Mark Zokle back in May. I have always been one to set vague goals and fill in the blanks as I get closer to them, and I thought that was working out pretty well for me. I realized that I was not as successful as I could be and started setting very specific targets for myself, based on the advice given here by Mark Zokle. I am pleased to say that since June 1st I have closed 80% more projects than last year’s same time frame. I have Mark Zokle to thank for that.

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