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You know I don’t believe in secrets, right? Everything you would want to know about how to produce great sales results is known—it’s just difficult to execute and lots of hard work. Making the top 20% of sales producers is no different.

The top 20% of sales producers are in the top 20% because they sell to clients who put them in the top 20%.

Big Enough to Make a Difference

Your dream clients aren’t always the largest prospective clients in your territory. In fact, it’s likely that some of the very largest prospects in your territory are nightmare clients.

In order for you to create breath-taking, jaw-dropping, earth-shattering results worth paying for, your dream clients have to have significant needs. Their need for what you sell has to be great enough that you can make a difference for them.

It isn’t likely that you can make a tremendous difference for smaller, transactional clients. When you can, it usually takes a lot of small, transactional clients to build up the kind of numbers you need to make the top 20% of producers. That ain’t easy!

Your dream client has to be big enough for your solution to make a difference. Your solution also has to be big enough for you make a difference.

Your dream clients are the prospects that are big enough to make a difference to your number.

A Certain Way to Avoid the Top 20%

It’s very difficult to make the top 20% of sales producers by calling on prospective clients that are merely receptive or by failing to disqualify prospects that aren’t in your sweet spot.

You can’t make sales with prospects that don’t really buy what it is you sell. Just because a prospective client is receptive, doesn’t mean that they deserve a place in your pipeline. Most of the time, they end up in your pipeline because your dream clients are much stingier with their time, because your dream clients already have a partner, and because you need the activity and the opportunity for your reports.

This will keep you in the bottom 80%.

Matching Up

Almost invariably, most of the clients that make up the top 20% of sales belong to the sales reps that make up the top 20% of producers. There are usually some outliers, some salespeople that are just outside of the top 20% ranking with a client or two at the top of the client list. But for the most part, the lists match up nicely.

This is not coincidental. It is not an accident.

The top 20% of salespeople have big enough visions of themselves, a great enough confidence in their abilities, and great enough abilities to create value for their dream clients that they actively pursue meaningful opportunities.

That is how they make the top 20%. It’s no secret.


What prospective clients in your territory would you need to win to make the top 20%?

Why aren’t the largest clients in your territory always your dream clients?

If you look into your pipeline, how much of a difference would it make to your sales ranking were you to win what you are now forecasting?

What do you need to change about your sales effort to move up the rankings from where you are presently?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 13, 2011

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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