lotteryKristina Guerrero, founder of canine meal company TurboPup. got her lucky break on shark tank on January 16, 2012. Her product was accepted and she went from $17,000 to over $1 million in 2 years.

Wow, could that happen in my business? Is that possible to happen in any sales territory?

Certainly the money and brain power of her shark investor helped Kristina take the business to the next level.

Although it all sounds glorious going from 17K to over $1mil… it didn’t come easy and her mistakes – although all learning moments – may have been avoided.

There are sales reps out there that have taken underperforming territories to the amazing ones – with their skill, will and enthusiasm – without the equivalent of Shark Tank funders – their bosses or outsiders.

And then there are territories with the same potential – but the sales reps in those incurred the same mistake lessons that Kristina did.

According to the article Kristina shares her 3 Mistakes…

“1. Trade shows are a risky proposition. Taking your product to a trade show is a great way to find potential retail partners, but some trade shows are not worth the entry fee. Guerrero learned this lesson by taking her La Pine, Oregon-based company to large trade shows where the retailers were too big for her company to work with.

2. Mass-production costs can eat up your budget. Moving manufacturing from Guerrero’s kitchen to a co-packer involved nine different trials that took more than a year. Why? Guerrero had to get the size, shape and baking process exactly right. “Going from a kitchen to a co-packer was a daunting process in every way,” she says.

3. Prepare for surprise setbacks.Two months after securing a licensing deal with a large manufacture of pet products, TurboPup took a financial hit Guerrero could not have anticipated. The worst bird flu outbreak in three decades hit the U.S., doubling the price of egg yolks, one of TurboPup’s key ingredients.

Since sales quotas don’t remain the same from year to year – take a close look at these 3 mistakes and see if you aren’t guilty of similar ones.

Mistake #1 – Lacking a clear customer avatar.

In addition to demographics – include where they hang out, trade shows they attend, publication they read, hobbies they enjoy. The more you know where and when are they doing business and their social interests, the easier it is to target them.

Mistake #2: Doing something that will eat up your budget.

Sales people don’t normally have a budget – possibly an expense account. The equivalent of eating up the budget is to reflect on any non-revenue producing activities a seller is involved in that eats up their profitable selling time. Nip that in the bud and there’ll be more in the pipeline.

Mistake #3: Prepare for surprise setbacks.

Until a downturn is in our faces, we are merrily going about our way. Sometimes we see the downturn signs coming, and other times we have our head in the sand.

It’s an interesting exercise to do the ‘what if’s” and list all the bad that can turn good sales around in a nano second. List what the telling signs of any of those catastrophes’ are and what your “Plan B” would be.

Once you’ve completed this activity and the shoe drops – you’ve got this paper to pull out of your drawer! Most likely it will show where your current gaps are and while the going is good begin closing those gaps. There will be less to scramble about then the surprise sets in.

You too can be as lucky as Kristina – without the backing of Shark Tank. Go get’ em.

More details of Kristina’s story can be found at Inc online’s article:   3 Startup Lessons This ‘Shark Tank’ Entrepreneur Learned the Hard Way by Graham Winfrey.

 alice-profile-round-170By the way, if you’d like to know how your sales reps can crush their numbers monthly in 30 minutes or less, then check this out