How to build your territory in 2015

Anyone in the teleprospecting business for more than a year will tell you that lists, lists, lists are your biggest assets.  But if you’re in the habit of printing a new list each week and dialing down in search of “treasure,” chances are you’ll harvest little more than fool’s gold.  Yes, you may dig up a couple of interested prospects today, but after a while, that list will be stale and you’ll be begging for a new list, or better list, or warm list.  You won’t be working for the good of your company; only for short-term boosts that lead-based commissions bring.

Here’s a new way to look at your lists for 2015–don’t.  Don’t look at lists as just names and phone numbers to plow through on your way to big bucks.  Use your lists as a jump off point to a better marketing database and overall greater returns on your efforts.  Build a territory for years to come with your calls. Here’s what I mean:

Don’t Sell—Discover

When the phone is your main source of income, it is tempting to repeat over and over again how great your widgets are and doesn’t your prospect want to buy them kind of messaging.  But if you use the phone as an industry information-building tool, you’ll surface better initial leads and help clean the marketing database at the same time.  When you try to discover if the person you’re talking to fits the profile of your ideal customer, you’ll be naturally asking more open-ended questions and truly listening for information that belongs in your database. In short, you’ll be building a subject-matter territory.

Identify Great Industries

Have you ever been given a list that within five calls you know is a stink bomb? We all have.  As a professional teleprospector it is your job to surface new opportunities by studying different industries and looking for appropriate connections.  Don’t try to sell medical uniforms to food prep industries. That’s obvious.  But you may consider building a list of laboratories to complement your doctor office calls. Or maybe stretch into hospital services. Use your creativity to build industry after industry and you’ll find yourself building a better, stronger medical uniform territory over time.

Acquire Lists

I don’t want to put you off list purchasing.  There are great sources for you to try.  I personally like working with Colorado Biz magazine ( for one.  Trade shows and websites are another good way to build lists. Just know that most lists need some clean-as-you-go attitude.  Some people change jobs quicker than a chameleon changes colors, and the list managers don’t necessarily have the chance to keep information up to date on a daily basis.  Still, these lists are a great starting point.  Check on whether or not the names on them fit your subject-matter territory, and do some preliminary website research to stay focused on your goals.

Make Contact with Your Top Three

If you really want to develop great industry information, I always say, go straight to the top.  Go to the C-Level people most likely to have an interest in your area.  If you want to build a computer software territory because you sell a great ERP solution, try to reach the CEO, CFO and CTO.  These people understand ERP and will be happy to answer your questions with better information than you can get by talking with a person who handles service complaints for your target company.  You may eventually use that lower-level person’s knowledge and interest, but start at the top.  And how do you know how to reach your C-Level targets?  Research the company’s website.  They’ll be mentioned on About Us pages, in articles on their blogs, and in press releases the company puts out.

Posture for Live Contact

Let’s face it.  Reaching your target contact on the first dial is highly unlikely.  Make it your goal to reach your contact person as quickly as possible.  After all, they’re going to help you build a lively and prosperous territory with the information that they have to share.

So how do you “get through” the walls, the gatekeepers, the obstacles?  Use perseverance in multiple formats.  Leave a professional introductory voice-mail on your first dial, but don’t hound a C-Level person with phone spam.  One voice message is a good start, followed up with an introductory email.  And here I suggest using a customizable template. Take great care with your wording once, and then use that wording to more efficiently reach multiple contacts.  Review that introductory email monthly, and over time your territory will be covered with professional messaging.  Lastly–and here’s a big secret to my success—send a personal, hand-written note.  Not too many people use this great tool any more, and I find it more and more successful in trying to make and keep the personal connections that help build great territories.


Try to remember that each call you make is truly a success, because with every dial you’re defining and learning more about your target markets, your territory.  Use every minute on the phone to your best advantage.  I have indeed had those miracle calls that end with a line like, “Glad you called, Sam.  I’ve been meaning to tell you about a new acquaintance of mine. He’s looking for the kind of product you sell . . .”

Best to you as you build your 2015 territories.

Categories: Sales & Marketing