Kicking off a new sales effort for a startup or new product line can be tough. It can be particularly daunting if you don’t have much sales experience as you may struggle with confidence or even figuring out how to sell your product or service.

One common mistake is jumping right into trying to connect with the biggest, most strategic potential customers for your product. The reasoning makes sense. These big potential customer obviously need what you are selling and getting a deal with one of them is a huge vote of confidence in your business.

But, there are several downsides to this line of thinking. Bigger customers will typically have longer sales cycles and require higher levels of time investment. This means potentially investing lots of time in selling before you’ve fully refined your pitch. And, there is nothing more losing a sale to a big strategic customer out of the gate.

So, what should you do instead? Here is a simple process for quickly building sales confidence and refining your pitch without getting caught chasing big, slower moving customers.

  • Make a list of the top 50-100 prospects ranked by your perception of their value and strategic fit. The first prospect on your list should be your dream customer. Don’t worry about being to overly precise. Your objective should just be to make a clear separation between the guppies and the big fish.
  • Start calling from the bottom of your list starting with the company that you perceive as qualified but the least important opportunity. If you totally flub your pitch with this customer it is no big deal because you have plenty other higher value opportunities farther up your list.
  • By the time you reach the top of your list you will have pitched your product or service dozens of times and collected lots of feedback. You may even close a few deals along the way, which is both great for your confidence and company.