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Selling isn’t easy. From quarter to quarter, you have to make your number. That requires that you take all kinds of different activities and produce all kinds of outcomes.

Managing your time, your focus, your activities, and your outcomes is critical to making your number. Here are three places to focus to make your number.

Disciplined Prospecting to Open Relationships That Open Opportunities

There aren’t many things that will prevent you from making your number more than a lack of disciplined, focused, prospecting. Without opening the relationships that you need to open, you can’t create or obtain the opportunities that you need to make your number.

Salespeople who fail to make their number are the salespeople who fail to prospect. Prospecting is the life’s blood of sales opportunities.

I once had a terribly unpolished salesperson work for me. She had no business acumen, and she had a list of personal problems that would require a year’s worth of blog posts to describe. But, she sat down at her desk and made call after call, day after day, week after week, month after month. Her disciplined prospecting produced all kinds of sales meetings, and lots of people liked her enough to give her a chance to compete for their business. She produced better than average numbers simply because she was hard to outwork.

With prospecting comes relationships. With relationships comes opportunities. With opportunities comes sales.

Build a Pipeline Big Enough That You Can Afford to Lose

To make your number, you have to be able to afford to lose.

It’s easy to open the big deal dream client opportunity and to be consumed with it. It’s easy to be consumed with the huge opportunity, especially the one that will make your whole annual quota. But, you get to control your actions; you don’t get to decide whether or not you win the opportunity or when.

Truth be told, your big opportunity isn’t taking 40 hours of your workweek. In all likelihood, it’s taking a few hours. It’s likely that you’re just spending the other thirty-eight hours thinking about it (been there, done that!).

I have seen countless salespeople miss their number because they obtain the one big opportunity they need to make their number and then stop building their pipeline. By failing to build their pipeline, they put themselves in a position where they cannot afford to lose.

But many do lose. And others are fortunate enough to close their big opportunity, but far later than they needed it to close, causing them to miss their number.

Meaningful Sales Meetings that Advance Opportunities

Activity isn’t enough to make your number. To make your number, you need effective activities that produce real outcomes. The desired outcome of sales meetings is to advance an opportunity from target to close.

Too few sales meetings, and you are unlikely to make your number. Too many meaningless meetings that don’t create any value for you or your dream client, and you are unlikely to make your number.

It’s easy to chase activity and to be busy with work that looks and feels like sales work. Appointments are good, right? Meetings are great, right? Responding to RFP’s is important work—and it has a deadline; it must be important work! Then there are all those emails . . .

Making your number means making choices to use your time effectively. The best place to spend your time is face-to-face with your dream client, engaged in activities that will produce the outcomes that advance your opportunities.

Meaningful, purposeful sales meetings, professionally planned, and professionally executed to advance the opportunity. Nothing less.


What are the keys to making your number?

What are the activities that open the opportunities that you need in order to make your number?

What does your pipeline need to look like?

What do you have to do with and for your dream client in order to create enough value and trust to advance your opportunity?

How are you going to make your number?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on April 14, 2011

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

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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