Thursday, January 29, 2009

You Can't Sell to the Customer that You Can't See

To begin, this article title can be interpreted as not making a sales call or not being able to secure a meeting with a vital prospective customer. This is actually not what I will be speaking to in this article.

I drew the title of this article way back from my days as a baseball player. I had a former Major League baseball player and American Legion coach who always told me, "You can't hit what you can't see." This means if you don't recognize the pitch coming down the plate and can't see it, you have very little chance to hit the ball. It is no different in sales. If there is a prospective customer out there who you can benefit, it matters very little unless they know about you or you know about them.

Companies and salespeople usually identify what they believe are the major players in each of their markets. Some of these customers are in there column, others remain elusive year after year as a business connection is never able to be established. I call this group of customers and prospects - the "usual suspects".

To truly grow your sales at an unprecedented rate, you have to move past the "usual suspects" in your sales quest. With proper networking and prospecting through targeted information searches, you can always discover a hidden market of prospective customers that have not been identified. I believe this to be true even for companies and salespeople who normally have a narrow scope of prospective customers.

Don't ever fool yourself into believing that your company or sales manager has properly identified all the "good" prospects in your market. Take the time to network properly with your existing customer base, always take different routes when traveling to discover new businesses, and learn to use the Internet to identify new companies that you can benefit. If you can master the art of finding hidden markets & prospective customers, your sales numbers will skyrocket like never before. And always remember - "you can't sell to the customer you can't see."


Ian Brodie | Sales Blogger said...

Spot on Will.

In fact, I'd go as far to say that not only are the "usual suspects" not your only potential customers - they're very often not your best ones either. Sometimes the medium sized guys are much better. They're eager to get into the top league, often still on a fast growth track but without the vested interests to protect that the biggest firms have.


Sales Gossip said...


Great post! I agree with you that sales professionals should not just call the prospects in their database or wait for the "good leads". As a sales manager, I know that an updated database is only as good as the last person in the territory. Getting aggressive and networking beyond your own database will make you successful!



From the Author: Will Fultz said...

To Vic and Ian,

Thank you for your comments and your "praise" for the post. Those salespeople who go beyond what is "known" can always find some very "sweet" fruit.

Thanks again,

Will Fultz