Goals – 2015, Part 1 (M-T-S Method)

How to NAIL your 2015 Goals using the M-T-S Method

One of the benchmark strategies we teach as part of The CAP Equation© sales methodology is the M-T-S goal setting system. You can access all of our blog and sales content at our home site. www.theCAPequation.com/access/

In this article we’ll spend a few minutes and break this method down, but first allow me to tell you a short story that will illustrate what happens in the real world of annual goal setting.


It was January 2001. As was our custom, we were holding kickoff meetings at each of the regional sales offices that I was responsible for. After the announcements were completed the regional sales manager asked each agent to walk up to the white board and sign in for his or her annual sales goal. This was a very public commitment of what they wanted to achieve that year.

One by one, the agents and managers made their pilgrimage to the white board and posted their 2001 projections. Some of the numbers seemed a tad overstated to me, and conversely, some appeared too conservative. All the same, we clapped for each person brave enough to come forward and hang themselves. I generally reserved comment, that is, until one particular veteran agent went up to the board to sign in.

We’ll call him Larry, not his real name. Larry grabbed the pen and signed in for $250,000. There was a resounding ovation while his manager high-fived him. When Larry returned to his seat near me, I leaned over and asked, “Hey, you’ve never produced more than fifty grand in a year…you got a few big cases on the horizon that we don’t know about?”

“Nah,” he snorted. “I don’t have any big cases coming up. I don’t guess I’ll do any more than I did last year.”

I couldn’t let his response drop there.

“Well, you did $40,000 last year. Why did you just sign in for $250,000?”

He looked at me with a twisted smile and answered, “Well, it’s like this…big sign-in numbers make our regional sales coordinator so damn happy.”

Larry was right. The regional manager of that office was ecstatic, but the numbers he was feverishly adding up on the board weren’t going to happen and there certainly wasn’t any alignment or accountability to the goal-setting process in that office.

After that meeting, I thought long and hard about how we were setting goals individually and as a team. It was then that I began to ask people to establish and communicate their goals differently.

I began to challenge our managers and agents, to resist the hype and pressure, feeling they had to sign in with humongous numbers just for the sake of looking good on paper. Although I knew there was some magic in the practice of having someone write a big number on the board, I also knew that if the number wasn’t attainable to them, it would be as if they had never made a commitment at all.

If a salesperson couldn’t imagine doing more than $100,000 of production or didn’t have a commensurate activity plan, but because of peer pressure, committed to $250,000, the salesperson might as well have taken a pass on the exercise and simply said, “I’ll do the amount of production I stumble into, so please leave me alone…oh, and here’s your stupid black Magic Marker pen back!”

First and foremost, you must personally believe in your goals.  Then, you have to have a commensurate activity plan that supports it.

Your goals have to be numbers that you know are achievable. However, we, as leaders, don’t ever want to sabotage the concept of thinking big. Getting salespeople to stretch their minds and dream big is a key factor in getting them to break out.

We honor both concepts with this M-T-S method.

Our objective is to incorporate reasonable thinking with some crazy dream building. To accomplish this, a few of us created a goal setting method we called M-T-S. M-T-S stands for:


This is a very simple concept. Let’s say you want to set a production goal for your first year. You will first establish a minimum goal or objective.

Your Minimum Goal

This is the least amount of production necessary in order for you to survive in your sales position, pay your regular expenses, and satisfy your self-employment tax. For purposes of this example, let’s say that the number is $150,000 of sales production.

Your Target Goal

This is the production number you’d ideally like to hit. It would allow you to do all of the above and also put some money in savings so that you can work toward a down payment on a home or fund your IRA. This projection benchmark would be a very comfortable place for you to be after year one. Let’s say the number is $200,000.

Your Stretch Goal

This goal is where you get to have some fun, get a little crazy! What I want you to do here is throw out a production number that makes you giggle. This number may allow you to slap that down payment on a home or condo by year’s end. It might allow you to upgrade your vehicle or pay off student loans. It isn’t a number you can easily see yourself doing. Let’s say the number is $300,000. Write this crazy, unbelievable goal down. This is the number we are actually going to do something with!

“Whoa”, you say. “This $300,000 production number is two times my minimum goal…but, you said, ‘You have to personally believe in your goals,’” Joe. “You said they have to be numbers you know you can do. They have to be achievable in our minds.”

Yeah…I know I said that, but here’s what the pros do…

They first establish a minimum; take it to the bank goal. This is a number they know they can achieve. Then, they extend that number to a more fulfilling projection, one that is still attainable but is a target goal. Then, they get all crazy and ask what the sales record is. That number becomes their stretch goal.

The stretch goal is the number they plan their activity around!

The pros have minimum and target goals. They are very reasonable and attainable, but all they fixate on is their stretch goals. Their stretch goals are exciting! They incite the passion they need to get out of bed each morning. It’s the number that drives them!

Do they always hit those stretch goals? No. In most cases, they fall short, and they are either in-between minimum and target or target and stretch. But, they usually blow away the minimum goals because…

…they built all of their activities around their stretch goal!

Is this making sense to you? I hope so. If you are new to sales and you establish one number, one goal (usually a minimum projection), and you fixate on it, build your activity around it—heaven help you. You might get lucky and hit it, but more often, you will fail to reach it.

Think about it—if your minimum goal is $150,000, and you carefully build your activities to hit that number, you will have to be spot on with everything you do to hit it. There is no margin for error! Kind of dumb, don’t you think?

All top producers structure three levels of goals, but build all of their efforts and activities around their stretch goals. Then, if they fail, they are still way ahead of any of their minimum income needs.

Try this. It absolutely works!

P.S. If you haven’t gone to this short video to learn about our BRAND NEW 2015 CAP Coaching program, then please CLICK HERE:  CAP Coaching information (Frontline)

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog article. We will break down the goal itself and supply you with the 5 critical elements that should comprise its makeup.

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  1. Pingback: Goals, 2015-Part 2 | The CAP Equation

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