What mixture of large and small companies should you
This is another common question asked in sales. The debate
balances on the truism that larger accounts offer richer long-
term rewards but tend to take longer to win. Smaller accounts
are usually easier to win but the returns are generally lower.
The answer is that in the medium to long term you will do
much better targeting large companies. Size does matter.
The theory behind ﬁnding new business
The toughest part of selling is getting the initial meetings with
the appropriate people. If you can do this, and so get a stream
of good quality leads coming in, you will be a success. This is
because, as a salesperson, you are either searching for prospects
or selling to them. This means you need methods that make
your searching as efﬁcient as possible so that you maximise the
amount of time you spend talking to a receptive market.
Here is an example of what ‘talking to a receptive market’
really means. In the early twentieth century there was a sewing
machine salesperson working the American Midwest. At that
time, sewing machines were a new and relatively expensive
item so they were only bought by a few people. That meant
that when the salesperson arrived in a new town, he knew he
would be faced with the problem of having to knock on lots of
doors to ﬁnd the relatively few people who had the money, and
the desire, to buy from him. He was spending most of his time
searching for a market, not selling to a market.
Selling nowadays can seem an equally daunting task because
so many companies cater for markets that are just as niche
and specialised as that in our example. It is often the case that
there are only a few thousand, or even a few hundred, people
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