Breaking The Sales Elephant Into Bite-Sized Pieces

Customized for Consultants / Hourly Based Fees

By Vicki Suiter

Sales are the lifeblood for any business, but they also cause anxiety for many consultants who worry, “Do I have enough work to keep me afloat?” or “Are sales happening fast enough?”

The solution to overcoming sales anxiety may be found in the punch line from the old joke, How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!

If you have a plan for getting where you want to go, reaching your destination is so much easier!  Bite-sized sales goals can be set and accomplished by following five easy steps:

  1. Have a specific personal income in mind.
  2. Know how much your overhead is.
  3. Know how much you need for debt, assets and reserves.
  4. Know the hourly rate you will charge in the future.
  5. Know how many weeks a year you will work.

Five Steps to Meet Income and Sales Goal

By following these five steps, the process is broken down into manageable, bite-size pieces.


Step 1: Set an annual sales revenue goal for your company and determine how many jobs you will need based on your average job size.  Company A example shows a sole proprietor. If you are a corporation, adjust the overhead to include a personal income goal for your salary plus employer taxes and benefits for yourself as an owner.

Personal Income Goal

Example: $100,000 (your gross wages)

Add to that figure the following numbers:

Overhead $35,000 (rent, util., salaries, marketing, etc.)
Asset Purchases $  5,000 (computers, equipment, etc)
Debt Repayment $  2,000 (auto and equip. loans, line of credit)
Reserves $  3,000 (savings)
Net Profit $15,000 (net after all expenses and your pay)
Revenue Goal: $160,000  


Step 2: Calculate the number of hours you need to work to meet the revenue goal.

The example assumes an hourly bill rate of $125 per hour. Adjust this accordingly using your hourly bill rate.


Sales Goal: $160,000 ÷ $125 / hr. = 1280 hours a year


Step 3:  Calculate the number of hours a week you have to work

Knowing how many hours a week you have to work lets you manage your time. If you meet the weekly goal and manage costs, you will reach your personal income goal.  The example assumes you work 46 weeks a year.  Adjust accordingly with the number of weeks a year you would want to work to arrive at the number of hours you would need to bill each week to meet your sales goal.


1280 hours a year  ÷ 46 weeks a year = 28 hours a week


Step 4: Track these numbers

What gets tracked gets managed. Have a way of tracking your time each week that is easy to refer to.  A time card can track client billable hours subtotaled by week works well.  You can see in advance where you are off track, have an opportunity to make early corrections in the sales cycle and meet your income and sales goals.


Step 5: Analyze

Assess each month what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to be different.  If you are off track, figure out if it’s possible to get back on track, create a new plan and then manage that plan.

 By following these steps, the sales process is no longer an elephant you have to face each day. Sales goals become manageable and results attainable.

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