The first three months of sales are the hardest. You’re trying to create momentum and at first it can feel slow going. In this update we want to give you some hints about how to make the first three months as effective as possible.

Start with what you’ve got

If the station has had some lapsed clients, that’s where you want to start. A client that knows your station’s name is much more likely to purchase from you, so if there’s a list of businesses who’ve been involved or been a sponsor of the station in the past, that’s where you want to begin. Even if the list is all over the place and not well managed, collect it as best as you can and then get out and meet as many of them as fast as possible. Even if you don’t make any sales there, you’ll start the relationship, which is in the long term going to lead to sales.

Sales is a numbers game

If you don’t have existing clients to start with, then I have to tell you this very simple truth: Sales is a numbers game. Over and over again, I’ve seen where sales people are willing to do the hard yards and see the number of clients that they really need to, to make the sales, they’re the ones who often end up being the best sales people. So if it’s going to take 100 contacts to get 20 people to hear about your offer to make one sale, it follows then that if you make 100 calls in the week you are going to make 1 sale a week.

A strategy that I often used was to choose a street which had a whole lot of businesses on it and go door to door up the street and then back down the other side. By doing this, instead of seeing five or 10 businesses in a day I was able to see somewhere between 30 and 50 in one day. This significantly increased the speed with which I made sales.

If you’re going to do this though, it does pay to just stick to one simple offer, like the Club Package we talked about previously.

By going door to door you’ve also made your first contact with many businesses, getting their contact details, their business card. And next time you make contact you’ll already have their first name, so you can contact them directly via phone, you don’t necessarily need to turn up in person.

But I will say this: If you’re not willing to get out and make the calls, you’re not going to get the sales, unless, of course, you’re an absolute pro. But unless you are a pro sales person, make sure you do the numbers otherwise your not going to get anywhere. Also it’s actually quite fun to meet people once you get started.

So that said, let me give you a few hints about how to make the most of your first couple of weeks:

1.) Go where others don’t

First of all, don’t go where other sales people go. Look for the places outside of their area where they might normally walk. Those clients who are on the outer edges of the city are much less likely to be serviced by sales people, which means you’ve got a lot less competition when you go and approach them, and they’re much more likely to say yes. Also, because they’re not within city foot traffic routes, they’re going to need more marketing to make sure people come out and find them, so they actually need your product.

2.) Avoid ego clients

Also, a big one here is avoid the focus on ego clients. By that I mean your big clients like McDonald’s, Harvey Norman and other big brand names. Those businesses are often a type of client that sales people gravitate towards because they feel like they’re going to get the big score, but oftentimes clients like that end up taking a lot more to close. The business structures of those large companies make it difficult for you to reach the decision maker. For example, often a Harvey Norman store will have three or four different franchisee owners, which means you’ve got to get at least three or four people to make the same decision, which is much, much harder. Yes, you can get a big score from them, but actually on the balance of things over 12 months, you’ll end up doing a lot better if you focus on the smaller clients – the clients where you can get direct access to decision makers easily and preferably where there’s one decision maker.

3.) Lay the groundwork. Contacts = sales

When I first started I bought myself a map of the city, and I got a highlighter, and I went street by street and covered the whole city. And I found that was a quick way to get to know every business in a very short space of time. It might sound like a lot of work, but if you’re wanting to have success in sales, I highly recommend it.

There will be other people who will tell you that you can do things easily, but to be honest, I find that unless you’re willing to put in the work, you’re really going to have a hard time in actually making the sales. Yes, there are methods for lead name acquisition, which are particularly useful in large cities, and we can talk about those in future updates, but really, you want to get out and make as many contacts as fast as possible in your first three months. Those initial contacts will lay the groundwork for years to come. So get out, make those sales calls, and the sales will follow.

In our next update, we’ll talk about self-management and how to manage yourself when you have low energy.