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Tools for Basic Prospecting --DeWese

April 2003
The list of winners in the Mañana Man's second Great American Print Sales Prospecting Contest can be found on the next page. We just finished tabulating all of the results prior to the deadline for this issue. My crack staff comprised of Marvelle Stump (I had to hire him to get him out of rehab) and Wanda Thrillkill, who will be contacting the winners to arrange for photographs and for their prizes.

I'm not sure my doctors are going to let me travel to wash all the winning sales teams' cars. There is talk of brain surgery or shock therapy and even a radical fatectomy to remove the excess baggage around my waist that prevents me from seeing my feet. I may also have to buy bus tickets for Marvelle and Wanda to travel to the winners' cities to wash the cars.

Anyway, these great salespeople at the winning companies have worked hard and obtained an aggregate of more than 1,000 total new accounts. They did it in some very tough times, in a very weak printing industry economy. It only proves that if you know what you are doing and work hard—whilst your competitors are hunkered down, contemplating their navels and whining—you can win bushels of new business.

Salespeople who actively and successfully prospect for new business have met head-on the most difficult challenge in print sales. First, they have a willingness to prospect. This means they understand the rationale for developing new business.

This rationale centers on a company's need to grow revenues, the salesperson's personal need to grow his/her income, the need to avoid account concentration and the need to replace the accounts that inevitably leave every year.

Willingness leads to commitment. Committed prospectors have overcome all the excuses for not prospecting. Salespeople who refuse to prospect generally claim that their company can't handle new business. Or, they have to hang around the plant to make sure their work gets produced on time and according to specifications. Or, they are not good at prospecting, but are superb at servicing existing business (the old hunter versus harvester concept.)

Successful prospectors have some semblance of a plan. They may have personally decided to make 10 prospecting calls per week and five face-to-face calls per week. They may have decided to do a special mailing to their prospects.

However basic, they have a plan.

Along with the plan, these prospectors usually have set some objective or a goal. It may be as simple as saying; "I'm going to get three new accounts this year to whom I will sell $200,000." Of course, these plans and objectives can vary greatly depending on the printing segment where your company resides. A short-run sheetfed commercial salesperson will have a much lower dollar objective than a long-run web catalog salesperson.


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