New Sales Simplified


  • Provide a framework for a new business sales attack
  • Offer simple, clear, practical, and actionable ideas and techniques

Sales simplified and a dose of blunt truth

Sales is simple - Connect with prospective customers and determine if your solution will meet their needs. So why do we overcomplicate it?

16 reasons people fail at new business development

They haven't had to or don't know how

They're always waiting on the company

Top performers in sales don't wait for anything or anyone.

They are 'prisoners of hope'

This describes salespeople who stopped working the sales process and ceased pursuing new opportunities because they are hopeful the few deals in their pipeline will close.

They can't 'tell the story'

The sales story is our single most important weapon. Salespeople fail to attract new customers because beyond being self-focused, they're long-winded and their message is often confusing.

Many don't invest the energy to sharpen their story, but instead, serve up a pitch that neither differentiates from the competition nor compels the buyer to act.

They have awful target account selection and lack of focus

Most salespeople fail to develop new business because they're wandering aimlessly. New business success usually results from a combination of perseverance, creativity, and resilience while staying laser-focused on a well-chosen, finite list of targeted prospects.

They are "late to the party"

Salespeople who are not proactively working a finite list of target accounts find themselves in situations where they are late or last to an opportunity. When we're late to the party, we're stuck reacting to, rather than leading, our prospects. Instead of being perceived as a value creator or problem solver, we're now selling uphill, and already being viewed as a potential supplier or vendor.

They have a negative attitude and pessimistic outlook

Sales winners take full responsibility for results. They don't whine and complain. Those who underachieve at developing new business tend to have a list of solid excuses close at hand.

They are guilty of a fake or pitiful phone effort

Picking up the phone to call prospects tends to be a key delineator between legitimate new business salespeople and posers. Posers pretend to make proactive telephone calls but don't really do it. Or they have such a lack of confidence that ruins their mental state and are completely ineffective.

They are not likable, don't adapt their style, or have low EQ

People buy from people they like. Quirks, weird habits and bad breath can get in the way of the success. Another important component of likeability and connecting with a prospect has to do with communication style.

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a measure of your emotional and social intelligence. This involves your ability to manage yourself, your emotions, your relationships, and people's perceptions of you. Low EQ people have a hard time establishing relationships with new contacts and thus developing new business.

In sales, our job is to connect with the buyer. This is difficult if you only have one speed and treat everyone the same, regardless of their style.

Our job is to ensure we are likable and trustworthy.

They can't conduct an effective sales call

Most sales calls are not well structured. Salespeople go in without a solid plan or they fail to share their agenda with the prospect. When this happens, control usually defaults to the prospect. The buyer ends up directing the path of the conversation. Another consequence of not having a well-constructed plan is that the salesperson ends up talking too much.

Sales calls are ineffective because the salesperson often forgets the purpose of the meeting; namely, that we are there to find pain, potential problems we can solve, and opportunities we can help capture.

Don't confuse 'presenting' with 'selling'.

They love to babysit their existing accounts

Majority of those in sales prefer to overserve their existing accounts at the expense of prospecting. It sounds a lot more like a customer service role than a sales role.

It's new sales where people need the help, not managing existing relationships.

They are busy being good corporate citizens

The nicest person frequently underperforms. People who have a difficult time saying "no" or delegating work to others tend to push new business development effort to the bottom of the list. Top-performing salespeople tend to be productively selfish with their time.

Being a good corporate citizen can make you well-liked, but it's unlikely to make you more successful picking up new accounts.

They don't own their sales process

Salespeople who don't have a clear mental picture of the "path to a sale" or can't articulate their sales process usually struggle to acquire new pieces of business.

When we don't own the selling process, it's likely we end up defaulting to the buyer's process. Examples of this:

  • being asked to provide a capabilities overview presentation prior to doing any discover work (getting naked without knowing any of the rules)
  • Premature proposal syndrome - issues arise due to not having identified buyer's criteria for making a decision, all the key players involved in the decisions and the true underlying issues driving the RFP.

Not owning and followings solid sales process limits the effectiveness of our sales effort and will certainly lower our batting averages.

They don't use and protect their calendar

Only salespeople that dedicate blocks of time on their calendar for prospecting activity consistently succeed at acquiring new business.

They stopped learning and growing

We must continually be sharpening our skills and improving our craft. Those unwilling to invest will likely begin failing at a faster rate.

Honestly, they are not built for it

Some people are not built to succeed in a hunting-type sales role. Some people are too relational to make it in a new business development role. Sales hunters experience conflict, risk, and rejection on a regular basis. Very often, highly relational people cannot stand conflict and tension that often exists.

The other behavioural style that severely struggles in a hunting role is the highly analytical, super conscientious type. Analytical people like to have all the data and facts before acting and their greatest fear is being wrong or embarrassing themselves. But new sales can be messy. Sales is about action, and analysis-paralysis is not a quality that tends to produce new business development success.

The Company's responsibility for sales success

Sales follow strategy: Mr. CEO, please do your job so I can do mine!

A non-negotiable for success in acquiring new business is clarity. Sales follow strategy. The chief executive is meant to determine and articulate the company's strategy through the following points.

  • Reason for existence
  • The direction the company is headed and why it's the correct course.
  • What we sell and why we sell it
  • Which markets to pursue and where we are positioned in those markets
  • The competitive landscape and how we stack up against competitive offerings, and why we're better or different
  • Why our pricing model is appropriate for the value we create in the markets we're pursuing and against the competition we're facing.

A low view of sales: dumping garbage on the sales manager's desk.

A simple framework for developing new business

Selecting targets: First for a reason

Our sales weapons: What's in the arsenal

Your most important sales weapon

Sharpening your sales story

Your friend the phone

Mentally preparing for the face-to-face sales call

Structuring winning sales calls

Preventing the buyer's reflex resistance to salespeople

I thought I was supposed to make a presentation

Planning and executing the attack

Rants, raves, and reflections

New business development selling is not complicated

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