Monday, November 28, 2011

12 Tips for 2012

After returning from vacation, especially one that lasts a week, it's sometimes hard to get back into "work mode." Well, this year is going to be different! To help you start off the year right, in January I will be sharing my 12 tips for 2012. These tips will aim to help you not only meet, but exceed, your sales goals in the coming year. 

Readers of Sales Is Not For Sissies are invited to sign up to recieve a FREE daily email for 12 days as part of 12 tips for 2012.  To sign up, email me at 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Creating a World Class Prospect List - Final Thoughts

To build the perfect prospect list, be clear about your goal. Some prospects are good fits, but they’re happy with their current solution and unlikely to change vendors in the near future. Other prospects are unhappy. They wish someone like you would call them today so they could fix their problems. Unfortunately for all sales professionals, dissatisfied prospects are the minority, not the majority, of the people we call. Therefore, if you want immediate sales you need to make more dials to find Mr. or Ms. Unhappy Buyer.

Opportunities are infinite, but time is a finite commodity. The sad truth we all need to recognize is that it often takes just as long to sell a mediocre prospect as it does to sell a good prospect. Once the account is sold, mediocre prospect become mediocre customers with low payoffs.
If the account doesn't buy much, but are quick and easy to sell and service, go ahead and grab the low hanging fruit. When an account doesn't buy much and is difficult to sell, find a better opportunity.
Here's another point to consider. Sometimes a prospect appears to be a perfect fit, but an obstacle the size of Mount Everest stands between you and success such as:
·         Long-term contracts
·         Buyers who dislike you or your company
·         Buyers who purchase from family members or close friends
·         Buyers who are intensely loyal to current vendors
·         Decision -makers who refuse to speak to you under any condition, and there is no way to get above them or around them.
Smart salespeople acknowledge obstacles. They're realistic about their ability to overcome them and don't waste time fighting battles they can't win. Instead, they find another account with a situation where triumph is a genuine possibility.
Smart salespeople also know everyone loses business, often for reasons outside our control. Replacing lost business takes time. To sleep at night, keep the funnel full. The starting point for a full funnel is a solid list of prospects built to reflect both quality and quantity.
Is your prospect list a good one? If not, today is a good day to start fixing the problem.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creating a World Class Prospect List - Advice of the Day

If you're looking for immediate opportunities, you generally need a bigger pool of prospects.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Creating a World Class Prospect List - Collecting Names Part 2

When I started putting together this idea of how to create a world class prospect list, one of the first elements I brainstormed was how someone goes about collecting names.  In addition to resources such as LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Leads411 and Hoovers, here are a few other suggestions of how to collect names:
  • Refferals
  • Walk in a building and study signage
  • Observations
  • Using the "Who is similar to the prospects I've got list?"
Use the rest of today and this weekend to brainstorm how to collect names and put your plan into action first thing Monday morning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Creating a World Class Prospect List - Collecting Names

Finding decision-makers is a challenge for every salesperson in every industry. To identify who you should be talking to, start by making a list of job titles held by current customers. Armed with this information, you can take advantage of online resources including:
·         LinkedIn, a social network of professionals.

·         Jigsaw, Leads411, Hoovers and many other services with data bases containing accounts with contact information.

In the online world, some information is free and some must be purchased. Purchasing information is a smart strategy if you want to save time. However, every list of names you buy will be accompanied by a disclaimer stating there are no guarantees that information is completely accurate.

It's also important to remember people get promoted and change jobs regularly. For this reason, lists are volatile commodities, and become less accurate over time. The best time to purchase a contact list is when you are ready and willing to make calls now.
Check back Friday for more suggestions of ways to collect names.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Creating a World Class Prospect List - The Magic Number

Wondering the number of prospects you need to meet your growth goals?  Follow these steps.

Step One: Determine the average value of a new account. How many accounts did your company open last year? How much business came from those accounts? Divide the total revenues by the number of new accounts to determine the average value of a new account in the first year.

Step Two: Determine how many prospects you need to convert to meet your revenue goal. Calculate by dividing your goal by the average value of a new account to determine how many new accounts are needed.

Step Three: Make an educated guess on the percentage of prospects you will convert into customers. What are the odds of closing new deals? Do you convert prospects into customers at a rate of 1 in 10 or 1 in 3?

Using this data, you will be able to determine if your list should contain twenty accounts or two hundred accounts.

Wednesday I will share how you should go about collecting names.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Creating a World Class Prospect List - Profiling

When it comes to creating a world class prospect list, big profitable accounts generally share common characteristics. To create a profile for your ideal prospect, think like a marker. Consider demographic and behavioral attributes like:

-Geographic locations
-Company size by revenues or number of employees
-Business categories as defined by SIC or NAICS Codes
-Internal buying structure—for example, if a company buys all their printing through an out-of-town advertising agency, they may not be a good prospect for you.
-Budgets and in particular, minimum purchase volume
-Quality requirements
-The types of products and services purchased
-Service expectations
-Financial stability and the ability to pay on time

Monday we'll cover how to determine the number of prospects you need to meet your growth goals.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Creating a World Class Prospect List - Introduction

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing the tips and tricks to creating a world class prospect list. 

Building a strong prospect list helps build a profitable book of business. The better the prospects, the better the chance of generating new revenue. Prospects that are good fits for your company are more likely to buy more or buy quickly, or both. The wrong prospects waste valuable time and delay you from reaching goals.  Prospects don’t fit well if they only buy a small amount of the products and services you sell. When the need is small, the payoff is small for you.

Today, let's review the three “right” actions it takes to build a strong prospect list:
  1. Define the right target account.
  2. Develop the right number of accounts for your list.
  3. Identify the right decision-makers within the accounts.

Check back on Friday to learn how to create a profile for your ideal prospect.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Small Business Saturday - November 26, 2011

First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. Now, there's Small Business Saturday, a day to Shop Small and support small businesses. And with November 26 approaching,  it's time to take action. Here are some things you can do to show support when you visit

-Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and supporting them is a great way to help fuel the local economy. Pledge your support by liking Small Business Saturday on Facebook. If we all take the pledge and make one purchase, Small Business Saturday can be huge.

-Get a one-time $25 statement credit when you register an eligible American Express® Card and use that Card for a purchase of $25 or more at a small business on November 26*.

-Check out our interactive map on and find businesses in your neighborhood to support Small Business Saturday.

If you own or are employed by a small business, find out how you can promote your business and prepare for Small Business Saturday by visiting this link -

Friday, November 4, 2011

Online To-Do: November 2011

Hi All - Melissa here.  While this month's online to-do isn't completely work-related, it has become my new obsession. 

Welcome to the world of Pinterest!

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.

It also could be used to organize the gifts you want to purchase for the holidays as well as make a list of the things you'd love to receive.

If you sign up and feel at all lost, shoot me an email at and I will try and help you out.

As they say on Pinterest...Happy Pinning!!