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Back to Basics

Want to create a strong sales foundation? Then keep these building blocks in mind.

This story appears in the January 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The start of a new year is the perfect time to review and renew the foundations of selling. Successful salespeople understand that the "fun" comes after the fundamentals; once you have the basics down, then you know the secret to success. Here are six ways to build the strongest foundation possible:

1. Never make assumptions. When I first started in sales, I remember driving by certain small businesses. I assumed that, because of their size, they would be a waste of my time. I was going for the big guns. But the big guns didn't always pan out. When I went back to the smaller businesses, they often turned into my biggest customers. That's why my philosophy is to live by the numbers. The more calls you make, the more sales opportunities you create. Sure, you need to qualify your prospects, but don't get so caught up in qualifying that you lose out on the lessons you can learn from simply making the calls.

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