Some of the best advice I ever received on selling is something so few mid-sized sales departments ever do, and that’s to create a list of prospects they want to see. Dan Sullivan of the Strategic Coach teaches such a process.
Dan’s unique process is called the Top 20 Club ™ and Farm Club™. It simply works in the B2B world.
What I like about the Top 20 Club™ is that it keeps me focused and on task with respect to sales prospecting. Plus, as I start knocking out names, I can add new ones.
David Ogilvy of Ogilvy & Mather Used a Sales List Too
David Ogilvy is one of the most successful ad professionals ever. It’s possible he’s the only ad man to ever make it on the David Letterman show.
One of my favorite chapters in Ogilvy on Advertising is How to Get Clients. He states how he created a list of the clients he most wanted. At the time, that list included:
- General Foods
- Lever Brothers
- Bristol Myers
- Campbell Soup Company
- American Express
- Sears Roebuck
- Morgan Guaranty
- Merrill Lynch
Out of that impressive list, he got one or two of those clients, right? Maybe three? Guess again.
It took time, but in due course I got them all.David Ogilvy – Ogilvy on Advertising
Just a suggestion–share this blurb with your CEO. I cannot think of a CEO who would not stand and applaud to that comment.
More Sales Advice from Ogilvy
In the same chapter, I liked some of Ogilvy’s suggestions, particularly in sales meetings. For instance:
… don’t sit the client’s team on one side of the table and your team opposite, like adversaries. Mix everybody up.Ogilvy on Presentations
The more you get the prospective client to talk, the easier it will be to decide whether you really want the account.Ogilvy on Listening
Tell your prospective client what your weak points are, before he notices them.Ogilvy on Transparency
Creativity is not a function of size. Small can be beautiful.Ogilvy on Going Against Bigger Firms
Why Should Financial Leaders Care About Such Sales Talk?
I enjoy hanging out with marketing and sales team members every chance I get when I’m not doing my finance thing. That’s because they are the ones who write me checks. Not only do I like to keep them happy, I like to learn from them.
As time permits, get out of the accounting, finance, or FP&A department. Spend some time with your VP of Sales or Sales Manager. Find out how the sales process works.
Afterward, don’t forget to share Ogilvy’s one-liner, “It took time, but in due course, I got them all.”
Title Photo by Joe Yates