Let me introduce you to four absolutely essential tools for sales success.  These tools are not necessarily unique and may already be used by a few salespeople to some degree.  

The power of these four tools is found not only in their simplicity, but also in their synergy.  When used together with each of your prospects, you will enjoy a new level of sales success.   

Tool Number One:  Ten Most Wanted

The FBI Ten Most Wanted list arose from a conversation held in late 1949, during a game of Hearts between J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and William Kinsey Hutchinson, International News Service Editor-in-Chief, who were discussing ways to promote the capture of the FBI's "toughest guys". This discussion turned into a published article, which received so much positive publicity that on March 14, 1950, the FBI officially announced the list to increase law enforcement's ability to capture dangerous fugitives.  The current average time a fugitive spends on the Ten Most Wanted List before they are captured is about 314 days.

Create a Ten Most Wanted List detailing those prospects you want most to be your customers.  Post the list where you can see it daily.  The power of the list is to create a powerful focus that will compel you to take action and focus your effort on making the sale.  The Ten Most Wanted List is reserved for those companies that might not otherwise be part of your daily prospecting.  As you review the list daily, you will discover the power and energy to move the prospects from your Ten Most Wanted List to your new customer list.  Just as with the FBI, the amount of time required to land one of your most wanted accounts will be greatly reduced.  When you close a sale with one of your ten most wanted prospects, add another in its place.  

Tool Number Two:  Monthly Goal Sheet

Any one can set a goal but very few people know how to achieve goals.  Salespeople set goals regularly or have goals set for them by their managers.  Goals are a way of measuring performance.  Unfortunately most salespeople just do a lot of “stuff” hoping to reach their goals.  A Monthly Goal Sheet is a profoundly simple but an incredibly powerful sales tool.  There are a few principles necessary for setting goals.  Principle #1: Set a date for completion.  Principle #2: Be clear about what you want to accomplish.  Principle #3: Goals must be realistic and achievable.  Principle #4: Goals must be a stretch or challenging.

A Monthly Goal Sheet identifies the month and the goal, defined in dollars or other units of measurement determined by your industry or employer.  A Monthly Goal Sheet should list every prospect you believe you can close within the month.  List the value of each potential sale.  Break your monthly goal into weekly goals and then track your sales performance by week.  Create a visual or picture of your performance compared to your goal.  An example would be a thermometer.  Calibrate it based on your goal and then color it in based on your sales as the month progresses.  When you can see a picture of your sales compared to your goal you will be motivated to increase your effort to stay on track with your goal.  The power of the Monthly Goal Sheet is to identify where you believe your goal will come from.  You can then focus your efforts on those specific prospects.

Tool Number Three:  Bucket of Satisfied Customers

The number one source of new sales is from happy satisfied customers.  Salespeople are very good at writing orders with their customers, but fail at discovering all the opportunities available.  A satisfied customer needs to be romanced, always looking for new opportunities within their organization.  Any happy satisfied customer will be good for either a new opportunity or a referral.  Referrals have a higher closing ratio than any other opportunity other than existing customers.  Referrals also close in a much shorter time frame than other forms of prospecting.  A happy satisfied customer can be a continual source of new opportunities if you will only ask.

Create a list of your twelve best customers.  Identify them by company name, contact person, address, phone number and sales volume.  On this list,  identify the date you plan to contact them to discover any new opportunities and to ask for referrals.  List the date of the actual contact and post your results for that customer.  This list of happy satisfied customers is your bucket of opportunity.  Track your customers and the new opportunities they will provide you.

Tool Number Four:  Prospect Data Sheet

There are many versions of this specific tool; they are often referred to as client or prospect management programs.  Most people have access to these programs but don’t use them effectively.  There are paper versions as well as software applications.  The value of the Prospect Data Sheet is found in their effective use.  If you do not keep track of the specific details of each prospect you will never sell as effectively as you could.  A Prospect Data Sheet should keep track of every detail of your sales process.  The more you know about your prospect and the more you do, the more you will sell.

A Prospect Data Sheet, whether it is digital or paper should include the following details:

  1. Company name, address, phone numbers, email, website and fax

  2. Names, titles, positions, decision makers, influencers, best time to contact, etc.

  3. Needs, budget, time frame, and ultimate decision maker

  4. Name of referrer, source of lead or networking group

  5. Current situation, supplier, pricing, volumes, etc.

  6. Hot points, concerns and objections.

  7. Brief game plan of what you will do to earn the sale.

  8. Comparative analysis of the competition including your strengths and weaknesses.

  9. Detail account of each contact with the prospect including dates and times and a scheduled date for each future follow-up.

  10. A brief description of why you won or lost the sale.

The power and synergy of these four tools effectively used in your sales process will increase your sales beyond your wildest expectations.  If you truly want a different result in your sales results, do something different.  If you want an improved result, do something right that you haven’t done before.