It is so easy to do that which is comfortable and easy as opposed to that which is smart. It’s a common temptation to which every salesperson succumbs at least some of the time. This applies most dramatically to the fundamental decisions that every salesperson makes over and over again every day:
- Where should I go?
- Who should I see?
- What should I do?
Those salespeople who consistently make those decisions most effectively rise to the top of the sales profession, and those who don’t, well, don’t.
Potential over comfort
Here’s an example. It’s Monday morning, and you must make those decisions. You could attempt to see a high potential prospect, or you can go see a small customer. You know the customer will probably see you – he likes you. And you’ll spend an hour or so in friendly conversation. You also know that the likelihood of increasing the business with this customer is next to nothing. But, since it’s comfortable and easy, you choose to see the customer. You rationalize it by claiming to be “building relationships.”
Or, you are all set to visit that high potential, but challenging prospect, when you receive a call from a “C” account who has a question. You are not too distant from them, so you change plans and drive to see the “C” account. Why? Because you know that he’ll see you, and you’ll be able to answer a question, and that makes you feel important, and gives you a sense that you are actually accomplishing something.
In both cases, you chose to do that which was comfortable and easy, as opposed to that which was smart. You succumbed to the temptation.
This is such a common thing among B2B salespeople that those who “focus on spending the greatest amount of time with the highest potential” stand out on the basis of this one best practice alone.
That doesn’t mean that you totally neglect smaller customers. But it does mean that you define, with some rigor, the highest potential customers in your territory and you then, with discipline and willfulness, spend more time with them. My recommendation? Fifty percent of your time with the top twenty percent of your territory, and fifty percent of your time with other eighty percent. Note that the definition of the top twenty percent is based on potential, not necessarily the amount of the current business. So, in other words, an “A” account is a high potential account, even though they may spend nothing with you now.
This is such a crucial practice that it is a part of almost every seminar and training session that I do. Those who consistently implement it routinely report dramatic increases in sales. Most commonly, they report tripling their business in two years.
While that sounds almost too good to be true, it isn’t. It is predictable and almost routine for those who consistently practice it. That’s why it’s a best practice.
Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of distributor and B2B sales people and sales managers to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He’s authored nine books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. Sign up for his weekly Ezine at www.davekahle.com. For a limited time, you can purchase his latest book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, and receive $534 in FREE bonuses.