Great salespeople have analytical minds and can analyze their accounts to determine which have the highest potential for growth.

If they are honest with themselves, they can determine which can be turned into major producers: namely, accounts that have not been worked hard enough. The biggest accounts aren’t as important as the lowest-hanging fruit. If you need big sales numbers now, this type of analysis is paramount.

The easiest accounts to grow are the ones you already have. You need to know how much market penetration you truly have with these accounts. It might be a lot less than you think.

Do not let long-term employees at these accounts convince you that your company has all of their company’s business. I was told that regarding our largest account, but the following year the account grew by 35%, and there is still room for growth. We had the majority of this customer’s business, but were not even close to owning the account.

If you listen to others’ opinions as to what is possible, you will probably experience a mild growth rate. You will bypass large existing customers with tons of opportunity in order to run after new accounts that take twice as much effort and time to secure. You should know your existing accounts, and if you have asked the right questions and explored those businesses, you should know what is possible.

Giant sales growth starts from within.

I talk to customers about the sales they did with us the prior year and, knowing what I know about their companies, I tell them what my hopes and expectations are for them for this year. I analyze what they purchased from us and what they did not. I approach my customers with a game plan, and let them know I will work hard to make it easier to consolidate their purchases so they can capitalize on their purchasing power and take advantage of our volume-based programs.

I ask what has to happen for me to earn more business, and why have they have purchased products from other vendors. I am prepared for the answers and have solutions ready. I am direct with customers, letting them know what I am after and what I am willing to do to get it.

You have to think: Why would a customer give you 70% of its business but give the other 30% to a couple of other vendors? The “lazy” reason I hear from salespeople is that customers make purchases from others based solely on price. We just can’t compete on the prices they are getting, they say, so we are stuck with the market share we have and are lucky to have that.

Price is rarely the reason. You should be asking questions. Be direct, find out the real reason, solve the problem, grow your loyal, long-lasting accounts, and develop a deeper relationship with your customer. Solving problems and providing value are ways to advance sales growth.

If you flush all the opportunities out of your accounts and capitalize on this low-hanging fruit, you can see sales growth of between 20% and 50%.

Doubling your sales in a year will require new growth, new blood. You need to analyze existing accounts to see where you have had the most success. What other accounts are similar to your biggest successes? Do you have clients who will give you referrals, helping you open the door? Do you know of other like-minded potential customers?

Cold calling will never allow you to double your sales in a short time. Fast growth requires warm leads, polite handoffs, and strong referrals. Whether you live in a big or a small city doesn't matter; wherever you are, people are connected. If you have been rapidly growing, salespeople will talk, and they will more than likely have heard about you and your company.

I am quick to name-drop the businesses that I have picked up as customers, or at which I have earned a bigger market share. I’ll let a prospect know that some of my accounts were similar and used competitors but have switched to my company. It makes the decision easier if a prospect knows that other respected business owners have made the change.

You need to break down barriers and make it easier for a prospect to join your ranks. Go for bigger accounts: If you're going to grow rapidly, you will need to reel in a big fish.

Dream big, dream early, period! You must have confidence. If your goal is to have a giant year, here is your playbook:

  1. Grow your existing accounts.
    1. Trust that there is more there than you realize.
    2. Dig deep and find new revenue streams.
  2. Capitalize on your success. Go after the big fish.
    1. Leverage your wins and find like-minded customers.
    2. Small wins with big customers can equate to tremendous growth.
  3. Be present, be seen.
    1. Always bring value to everyone you see, and tailor this to each customer. What is valuable for one may not be for another.
    2. Mix it up. Bring training, new products, vendor reps. Share best practices and present new programs.

Your existing customers are gold mines. Tap into them and, if prospecting, go big or go home. The above plan worked for me. You really can double your customer base.

Happy selling!