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Starting And Stopping

by David Brock on November 14th, 2011

It’s always difficult to balance our selling activities.  We’ve got a bunch of hot deals going, we drop everything else, focusing on those deals.  There’s the new product launch, we spend all out time visiting customer on the new product.  There’s the problem customer, we jump in trying to solve the problem and make them happy.

The life of any sales person is one of constant juggling, re-prioritization.  We have lots of things going, lots of things diverting our attention, we have to continue to shift where we spend our time.

The thing that usually suffers during these times is prospecting.  Most of us don’t like doing it, we prefer working on deals or doing almost anything other than prospecting and looking for new opportunities.  We don’t like picking up the phone and calling someone we’ve not met.  We don’t like the rejection.  Too often, we look for excuses to avoid prospecting, nothing’s better than working a deal that’s nearing a close.

The problem is prospecting isn’t something you can start and stop.  We always have to devote time, every week to focus on the top of the funnel.  Leads go cold–all that’s been invested in developing and nurturing a lead can be wasted if we don’t contact the prospect on a timely basis.

Leads have their own life and their own time cycle.  A lead doesn’t care if we are busy on a proposal.  A lead doesn’t care that we are in a week of training meetings.  A lead is there for a period of time, then it goes away, perhaps to a competitor that happened to be prospecting.

Things start slowing down, we’ve closed all the deals in our pipeline, there’s not enough left, all of a sudden those leads are the most important thing to us, and we don’t have enough, so we start dialing blindly.  We start chasing after anything because we’re desperate.  The quality of our pipeline goes down, but we’ve we’ve got a few deals, so we stop our prospecting, focusing on those deals.

Prospecting is not a start and stop activity.  Even when we have a good funnel, we need to prospect.  If things are flowing through the funnel effectively, then we will need new deals to replace those we’ve closed.  Great sales people balance their time–they work on current deals, the support their customers, they invest in prospecting, knowing they always need to find new deals.

  • Are you balancing your time between current deals, prospecting, and other activities?
  • Do you know the number of prospects you have to speak with every week to develop a balanced pipeline?
  • Are you avoiding the starting and stopping, making the most of each lead that you have?

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