Habits of successful salespeople: lists

November 7, 2014 -  By

Successful commercial landscape salespeople work from lists. In today’s hyper-paced world, you cannot keep it all in your head. So unless you have a photographic memory and are a professional juggler, you will drop more balls than you keep in the air. At a more practical level, you can’t sell what you can’t see. The best salespeople create lists to keep their pipeline visible. They strive to advance opportunities from cold to warm to hot to a decision. Without lists, this is simply impossible to do well. In other words, when it comes to making the numbers, organization equals results.

So let’s get organized to sell more stuff. Everything starts with The Big List. How do you create this list? First, segment your target market. In the chart below (“The Big List”), the targets are homeowners associations (HOAs) and apartments. Why do we segment? Simple. We target because the decision-making and selling seasons are unique to these segments. This matters because you need to get in front of the right people at the right time of the year to have any hope of a high close rate.

Second, identify those whom you know (or should know) by relationship status. Hots are people with whom you have a long working relationship. They are a great source of referrals. Warms are people with whom you have less of that type of relationship, but with a little bit of work they can become hots. They are your source of growth. Colds are people new to you and a reservoir of potential leads. The chart demonstrates in very simple terms the process completed. As you can see, the HOA strategy with ABC Property Management is to ask for referrals. The strategy with XYZ Management is to wine and dine. The strategy with Omega is to create awareness of your existence. This is The Big List you start with.

Next you need to create your Little Lists. These lists are dynamic. They change weekly. In simplest terms, you need three of these lists. The first is the “hot” list. This list documents delivered proposals that require follow-up. The second is your “warm” list. This contains qualified opportunities you want to advance to a proposal. The last is the “cold” list. This contains the names of people you need to hunt down to start a conversation. You may want to create more refined lists. I do, but these three are the minimum requirement.

How do you keep track of all these lists? You need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software system to manage your lists and document your “touches” (to-do’s, emails, phone calls, documents, photos, appointments and proposals). There is nothing more essential, nor more easily available today, than a CRM system. If you don’t have one, get one.

There you have it. Organization produces results. Lists provide organization. If you want to sell more, invest time in your lists. My wish for every salesperson… more organization, not more charisma.

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About the Author:

Kevin Kehoe, a longtime landscape industry consultant, is managing partner at Aspire Software.

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