We have all been there. That off-the-cuff prospect you just happened to call for no particular reason has turned into a really big possibility of a mega-sale. You can clearly see the pound signs and you only have a one-track mind as you put all your energies, time, eggs, kitchen sink and anything else you can lay your hands on into winning the deal.
But once it's all over - same old story
Your heart sinks and you hold your head in your hands. Great - it was a brilliant sale but you spent so much time on it you failed to continue getting leads. There is nothing in the pipeline for future sales and you have just devalued the sale you have acquired - any monies from the sale are going to have to stretch as you desperately try to get back on track.
The solution - a managed pipeline which always includes prospecting
Generating leads, cold calling, re-visiting old clients to see if they are interested in new products, swamping your network with new ideas can be frustrating and depressing as you are likely to be filling your day with stinging rejections because of the panic and desperation that you show. Not many would say it is their favourite part of the sales buzz - but it is an essential task. Without informed leads there are no sales. Without regular leads - a productive pipeline with prospective buyers - the whole system falls to pieces. So the key is in managing that pipeline and making sure you prospect every day. So here are 10 top tips to make sure it actually happens:
Ensuring Prospecting happens and gives results
1. No matter what is happening in your business make sure you set time aside each day to prospect for new clients. This includes re-visiting systems for acquiring new clients. Do they convert as much as you would like them to? It can seem at times as if nothing can be more important than that red-hot client about to buy, but bear in mind if you do not take care of the whole system you will have no business at all.
2. Create a disciplined routine for prospecting which has to be adhered to. Facilitate this by setting times in your diary when it will happen, and for how long. Create a task list and a database to show contacts made and future on-going prospecting tasks.
3. You will never do it if you feel uneasy about using it. There are many ways to get new clients - use the strategy you feel most comfortable with (direct mail, emailing followed by a phone call, blogging, social networking, and face-to-face meetings, conferences, and events).
Motivation is paramount
4. Have a prospecting and monitoring form and after making contact, amend and update your list until you are through. Keep in mind that prospecting is best done when you are busy and that the more you do it the better you get. Remember to implement a multiple contact marketing strategy. If you are only contacting once, you are leaving business for your competitors to come and pick up.
5. Give yourself rewards that do not necessarily depend on you winning a sale or further contact or not. For instance, you could set a reward for yourself after ringing up a client you have a difficult relationship with.
6. Even the worst contacts can teach us something. So spend a little time to analyse contacts made to streamline future lead generation - this way you know all tasks are beneficial.
7. Create systems at the outset whereby you are always in contact with on-going clients or past associates. This can be done automatically through newsletters, online freebies, social media and email promotion.
8. Create a flexible prospecting schedule which will allow you to cope with those big jobs when they come in and keep healthy prospecting.
9. When things are going well motivation for prospecting drops. In order to keep motivation, think long term. Estimate how it will effect daily work load and make it clear in your mind what is a short term win and what your goals for the year are - battles and wars.
10. Add to your prospect and monitoring form, four or five facts about your on-going clients (i.e. likes playing golf; last holiday etc.) what has been fundamental to your previous business relationship. This will make re-contacting and building rapport a lot easier - you don't have to start from square one.
Good luck and until the next time; "Find A Way and Be The Best You Can Be"