Do you know what that means? Seven out of ten times, these celebrated athletes made an out.
If you sold media at the rate of 0.303, you would be in the media sales hall of fame (if there were one). If one calendar year was a "season" and you landed three out of every 10 accounts you called on, and you actively called on 33 accounts in a year, you would have 10 pieces of running business.
Ten running accounts may not sound like a lot, but if those "hits" averaged $300,000 per account, you would have $3 million a year. This should put you well north of your quota, a big smile on your manager's face, and a nice-sized check in your pocket at the end of the "season."
Revenue per running account is impacted by how well you have positioned your property for a piece of business and the size of the budget you chose to allocate your selling efforts against. However, before you can focus on increasing the revenue per running account, it is essential that you focus on hitting 0.303 so you have 10 pieces of running business in which to develop.
So what is the key to batting 0.303? Ironically, it is not your hits, but your misses. The challenge is not getting three hits, as much as it is making sure you get your 10 at bats.
We in sales always tend to make the same mistake of counting on (or praying) we bat a thousand on all the proposals we have submitted. However, that kind of wishful thinking is what will always get you in trouble.
Having 10 active account opportunities on your plate at all times is a skill you need to develop in order to bat 0.303. Developing 10 accounts simultaneously takes a lot of effort, creativity, and diligence, but most of all it takes a white board. If you do not have a white board in your office area currently, I suggest you run out to Staples after reading this column and purchase one.
Your white board should have your top 10 accounts listed so that when you show up to work on a Monday morning, you are quickly reminded of where your focus belongs.
Detailed next to these 10 accounts should be a communication plan for each piece of business. Written out should be sales calls you have scheduled and calls you need to secure along with dates you have promised to follow up. Planned drop dates for mailings should complement your communication strategy along with a schedule of entertainment events. All of this may sound a bit anal, but I assure you, writing out your communication goals for your top opportunities ensures they will occur and helps you prioritize your efforts (it also looks very good to any of your bosses who may peek into your office).
The mistake sales people often make is not refreshing these 10 accounts each month. If an account has been won, celebrate and move it to another list of "running business." If an account has been lost, and you determine it is not as winnable this "season," take it off your list and replace it with a new opportunity. If you are having trouble finding a replacement opportunity, then this exercise in itself has alerted you to the fact that you need to spend more time cultivating new prospects.
The goal of this white board workout is to make sure you are going after enough accounts that you can experience the losses. Losing business never feels good, but by giving yourself the chance to lose out on a piece of business, you benefit both consciously and subconsciously from the experience, much in the way a hitter learns every time they make an out.
The lessons of losing business helps you anticipate future objections so you can adjust your swing and make better contact the next time around on that account or a future account. So in essence, you win for losing but that only happens when you work hard enough and smart enough to ensure you get enough appearances at the plate.