Every salesperson should have a list of target accounts. Not just a list provided by management or marketing or a list that provides you with the ability to make your number this year either. Every salesperson needs a target list of their dream clients that they are committed to pursuing over time.

This is the “call your shots” list of accounts that you are committed to pursuing relentlessly because you want the clients, and because they are the clients for whom you can do the best and most meaningful work.

You Never Win Clients You Don’t Pursue

Hall of Fame hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, is known for the quote: “You miss 100% of the shots that you never take.”

This is such a simple—and powerful—idea. You have to play the game. You have to take the shots. If you aren’t pursuing your dream clients, then you aren’t going to win your dream clients. The accounts that you need don’t walk their own deals into your sales office. You have to go get them.

You call your shots by building the list of target dream clients that you are committed to pursuing. You aren’t going to win all of them this year. You may not win all of them over the course of five or ten years. But you aren’t going to win any of them if you don’t pursue them.

You have to take your shot.

The Foundation of Your Nurture List

Your time and resources are limited. You have more work than you can easily do in a week. Nurturing the client relationships that you need to succeed takes time, and it takes effort. Because our time is limited, your target client list serves as the foundation of your nurturing efforts.

You start with every client from a position of being an unknown. You have to make yourself known, and you have to be known as someone who creates value and makes a difference for his or her clients. By giving your target list priority when it comes to both your prospecting efforts and your nurturing efforts, you become known.

More still, it takes time to build trust in relationships. Your continued presence and your continued commitment to pursue your dream client build trust. You can be counted on to be present. You can be counted on to keep your commitments, even if the commitments you keep are only the continued pursuit and the continued providing of value creating ideas and information.

The real trigger event in sales is dissatisfaction. If you are present, known, and perceived as a value creator when your dream client becomes dissatisfied, you will get an opportunity to serve them. You’ll get the opportunity to compete for their business at worst. If you aren’t present, known, and perceived as a value creator, you’ll will get exactly what you have earned: nothing.


How many prospective clients do you have on your “call your shots” target list?

How many targets can you pursue in a meaningful way, developing and nurturing the relationships over time?

How do you ensure that you devote your limited resources of time and energy to the prospective clients you really want?

How much are your odds improved when you are present, known, and perceived as a value creator when your dream client eventually becomes dissatisfied?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on September 5, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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