Sales Basics

Down the Sales 101 Trail- Part 2

This is the last half of Down the Sales 101 Trail. I hope this helps accelerate your close ratio. This is going to be a ONE topic discussion, so let’s get with it!


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I can’t emphasize enough how important having a game plan is. Seasoned sales professional or just starting out, you have to have a game plan. If you are winging it day-by-day, go find something else to do because you are not going to survive without some divine intervention. The stakes are too high in the current economic atmosphere.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Old saying or not, it’s true, or at least true enough to do harm. When I started in sales, I struggled. One of my senior mentors sensed this as well and towards the end of the day came over to offer his advice. The first thing he asked me was, “What are your plans for tomorrow?”  Not knowing his intentions, and thinking he was going to ask me to lunch, I answered, “Nothing, what do you have in mind?” We certainly were not on the same wave length. He went on to tell me how at the end of each day or that evening, he would map out a strategy for the next workday. Never, ever did he leave tomorrow to chance. I have never forgotten his words of advice, nor that single question he asked me that day.

Start Small

Ok, now what?  It really doesn’t matter if you have a territory or assigned accounts, start by mapping out 10-20 companies to target. There are commercial services that can dissect a state or geographical area by Standard Industrial Codes (SIC). (It is being replaced by the newer six digit North American Industrial Classification System (NAIC). You can then filter companies to a very granular level by revenue, size, state, etc. This helps to build a match between your solution and companies you wish to engage. Build on this concept and grow your customer base.

Don’t Pull the Trigger Just Yet

The last thing you want to do is have contact with a company without doing your homework. I believe in “prepare before approach.” With the economy still sputtering, you need to make the most of every contact. You cannot do this without knowing what the company does, what kind of pain they are experiencing and how your solution can help. You will only know this by planning. (Click here to see 5 daily tips) Get your plan together then get your sales manager’s approval. Why? It does two things. First, it shows you know how to plan and tackle a problem, and two, gets his buy-in in case things go awry. The last thing you want is to be on your own unsupported.

If nothing else I hope this gives you a foundation to build/rebuild a stronger sales strategy. If you find this of value or feel I missed the mark, please consider taking the time to comment. Many people can and will benefit from YOUR experience. Continuing to share your tips on what basics work for you will in the end, benefit us all.

Happy Selling!

Ed Warner

3 replies on “Down the Sales 101 Trail- Part 2”

Sales territory planning and strategic account focus are key to sales success…’s how I became the #1 sales producer on various sales teams. The granularity of planning down to daily activities is key. It allows you to focus and think about tomorrow before it arrives.

[…] In order to keep thinks gliding smoothly along without showing any level of frustration, you must be constantly paddling, though you don’t have to be going at a constant 0-100 break-neck speed all the time.   The one thing all salespeople see themselves at a disadvantage over, is time.  In fact, some consider it a liability.  I completely disagree with those that do;  but only if it is accompanied by a plan of attack.  In other words, if you don’t have a plan, it is a liability, a big one!  One thing I am an adamant about is having a plan. I wrote this article about having a game plan. […]

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