The Importance of Project Accounts in Sales
Failure leads to learning, which, in turn, enables progress
The excerpt below is taken from the book, Carry That Quota.
Getting involved in real-world situations is the best way to learn. In sales, I am constantly trying to figure out ways to learn through experience as quickly as possible. In particular, depending on the customer and the current business situation, I will allocate several of my accounts as “project accounts.” These accounts will be low-risk opportunities for me to try new ideas and concepts with the intention of creating value for both the client and me. A little more context: salespeople know that not every account is going to be ready to buy when you would like them to buy. As a result, salespeople need to take a few accounts and treat them as project accounts to test and learn. I do this every year and enjoy the exercise as it enables me to learn about new companies and industries. I’ll allocate a given amount of time in my schedule to immerse myself in these project accounts. It is almost like a “pet project” whereby I will interview people at these accounts. I will ask for advice and guidance on how to sell into their company or industry. This exercise forces me to think differently and challenge my traditional mindset as it relates to how I normally sell. I find project accounts are where I will force myself to fail as quickly as possible. Failure leads to learning, which, in turn, enables progress. In my experience, some of the best ideas get formed while working with these project accounts and initiatives. I will often pitch ideas to the client and let them know that we have never done this before but that we would like to give it a shot and learn together for mutual benefit. Sometimes clients are open to these ideas; other times, they are not. Either way, most of the time, they appreciate when I bring new ideas to them. It shows creativity and that I am interested in their business.
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