I love the saying, “success begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” I’m all for pushing oneself to the edge of their comfort zone, but not beyond. This is especially true when prospecting for new customers.
It’s natural for most sales folks to want to reach for the stars and secure large marquis accounts. But reaching beyond your comfort zone can be at best, a waste of your time and at worst, dangerous for your business.
There are 3 stages of success in our business:
- Newer to the industry. Learning while you’re earning
- Competent in selling products. Learning to be a consultative seller
- Consultative seller. Competent in selling products, programs and value-added advice
There are 3 sizes of prospects:
- Smaller businesses
- Medium-size businesses
- Large businesses
My recommendation is that you stick with the size of business that’s equivalent to your stage in the business. So, if you are newer to the industry, start by calling on smaller businesses. You will learn the industry, while you are earning money at this stage. And, if you make a mistake, it will only be a small mistake because you are dealing with a smaller business. As your product competency grows you can start to add some medium-size businesses to your mix. You will know when you are ready to step up to larger prospects.
The biggest challenge in calling on too large of an account too soon is that the decision makers in large businesses can easily tell if you are not ready to add the value they need. Worse, some decision makers in large businesses have long memories or active supplier databases that could be a problem for you when you are ready to call on large businesses.
Success does begin at the edge of your comfort zone, but not beyond it.