Top TIp #7: Create an A-list network

*Jen Wagstaff author of The Top Performer Journal.png

Your network is the lifeblood of your sales goal. Have the right prospects and people on your side and you’ll find easy opportunities flood your way. In this blog we delve into the network of a Top Performer; who do they call? Who do they hang out with? And how do they position themselves as an expert in their industry? Plus we share how YOU can build an A-list network to achieve your sales goal.

By Jen Wagstaff, Director of CreativeMind and author of the Top Performer Journal; a powerful daily planner to help you develop great sales habits for success.

To download the strategy worksheets that accompany this blog, click here.

Anthony Robbins, leadership and peak performance expert, famously charges $100,000 for one coaching session. Sounds a lot, considering the average coaching session retails at around $200/hr.

So, pop quiz, how does he charge five hundred times more than the average coach?

  • A. He drives around, 'popping in' to meet people for coffee.

  • B. He spends hours trawling through data and making endless calls to gatekeepers.

  • C. He has a fantastic network, is a known specialist in his niche and targets people who can afford to pay.

No surprises guys, it's C. And if you look at his past clients, you will see it is quite literally a celebrity A-list: Hugh Jackman, Leo DiCaprio, Serena Williams and Bill Clinton to name a few.

If you focus on working with premium clients, they are more likely to pay premium prices.

The problem is that most salespeople do not create or manage a quality prospect list.

They rely on lists of data given to them by their company, downloaded off the internet or fed to them by an outdated CRM (customer relationship management) system.

Top performers however, do not leave prospecting to chance.

They don't spend weeks 'data-cleansing'  lists given to them by other people.

They don't blame anyone for their lack of opportunity.

They don't drive half way across the country to see people who end up spending less than the cost of a one-way trip.

Instead, they create, manage and develop their own A-list of quality contacts.

Paul knew his relationship with the CEO would never be the same again after his long-awaited lunch date.

Paul knew his relationship with the CEO would never be the same again after his long-awaited lunch date.

Firstly, What is an A-list?

Your A-list is the lifeblood of your sales goal.

It is a hand-picked list, full of ideal prospects and contacts, from which you make your daily calls and update on a daily basis. It is designed to strengthen your network of key contacts and feed your pipeline with an ongoing supply of great opportunities. For a full time salesperson, your A-list should eventually have around 200 contacts in it.

4 types of people who must be on your A-list

Top Performers expand their network and find opportunities by ensuring these four essential groups of people are on their A-list:

1.    Ideal Prospects

An ideal prospect takes you closer to your sales goal in the easiest possible fashion. They are highly profitable, buy big ticket solutions and grow year on year.

To read our blog on how to define your ideal prospect, click here, or download the strategy worksheets that accompany this blog.

Once you have identified your ideal prospect, create a list of people who fit the bill. Look through current contacts, current prospects, past customers, LinkedIn, trade magazines and local directories. Don't be afraid to 'fire' the low-value, high-effort prospects you are currently working.

Build your A-list by choosing just one or two specific industries/sectors to specialise in (i.e "High-tech & Pharma", or "Department stores & Airport lounges").  This is called "niching". The more you niche into a certain (high-value) area, the more specialist you become and the higher your value grows. Plus you get testimonials you can use when prospecting for more opportunities and more referrals as people see you as the go-to expert.




Connectors are people who easily connect you with your ideal prospects. They may put on events that your prospect attends or be a leading source of knowledge in your ideal prospect's industry.

For example, if your ideal prospect is in the gifting industry, a great connector is one who puts on the Spring Fair Gift & Home trade show. They have thousands of contacts you would like to meet.

Add these connectors to your list and make sure they know who you are, and how you can help.


3. Referral Partners

Referral partners have the same customer base as you but sell a non-competing product or service. Together you decide to forge a referral partnership and then recommend each other's services to your current clients and prospects.

Referral partnerships take a while to set up as you need to develop trust in each other, but once in place, they are the easiest and most effective way to generate new leads.

For example, if you sell printing services, a great referral partner is a graphic design company. The representative from the design company can easily recommend you and vice versa.


4. Internal Influencers

Internal influencers are people inside your company who make things happen for you. They may be those who approve rates, support your customers, or senior managers who may one day promote you to the position you desire.

Do not overlook the importance of networking with these people! Get them on your A-list, invest time in developing relationships and it will pay back tenfold.


Wondering what to say?

Of course, there is no point having a wonderful A-list full of great contacts... if you don't call them. There will be more blogs coming soon on phone activity and technique but for now, just remember this...

If you want to find new opportunities within your A-list, call them with this question:

"How can I best help you?"

The more you give to them, the more you will get back in return.


In summary

If you want to be a Top Performer your network has to be strong as nails. People who matter have to know you, think of you as a recognised expert and be confident giving you business.

So be proactive, keep building your A-list network and always think bigger than yesterday.


Got a sales team? Want some ready made training material to use in your next team meeting?

1. Download the strategy pack. 

2. Print off the relevant ready made worksheets to use in your next team meeting.

3. Follow the examples and coach your team to create their A-list.


5 Top Performer Tips for a Focused Sales Strategy

  • Gain control of your success by breaking down your goal

  • Strengthen your networks through developing an 'A-list' of ideal prospects

  • Improve your sales pipeline by prospecting like a pro

Download for free 5 Top Tips for a Focused Sales Strategy

Or order your very own Top Performer Journal today.

Blog written by Jen Wagstaff, CreativeMind Sales Training

"If you're not on the list, you're not coming in..."