The 18 Month Rule
Once upon a time, a sales rep walked into the lobby of Humongous Corporation, a Fortune 500 company headquartered nearby. The receptionist greeted her warmly and they chatted for a few minutes before the sales rep asked if the key decision-maker was available.
He was, and promised to come out immediately.
They shook hands and the sales rep said, “My name is Allison and I work for FarkaBerry Printing. We are a full-service company capable of handling all of your communication and marketing needs. It would be our great honor to be of service to you and Humongous Corporation.” The decision-maker listened intently and replied, “I like you. I like your approach. I like the name of your company. I think we would be a good fit. If you have time, I have several orders I would like to place immediately. Please come to my office. I will give you the PO’s and you can let me know the price later. In fact, if we could sign a long-term contract of exclusivity, I would really appreciate that.”
Bill Farquharson is a sales coach and trainer. He can be reached at….
Hold on a second. There are one or two things wrong with that fairytale. Let’s back up and find the core issue that started a series of fictional events.
Before we cover the client offering up a voluntary long-term contract and the fact he had orders to place now; before the instant vendor approval and even his immediate availability (and never mind the fact the rep walked in through an unlocked door and was greeted by a human being) comes one of two truth will about landing a Big Fish account:
It takes 18 months, minimum.
No one walks in and gets an immediate audience.
No one walks in. Period.
The operative word is “persistency” (or “persistence,” if you prefer). Then:
1. Start by targeting a few large accounts;
2. Build a process of valuable touches;
4. Keep engaging;
5. Engage some more;
6. Insert musical interlude signifying months of time passes, and then…
7. Get a response;
8. More time passes;
9. First appointment;
10. Meanwhile, your newborn has grown up, graduated college, worked, and is now retired;
If you want your fairytale to end well, start with the right target and apply a LOT of diligence.
Go to BillFarquharson.com and click on the “Training” link in the header for more information or to contact Bill and discuss your sales challenges. If you need sales and want ideas for gaining more appointments, buy my 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever on Amazon.