Is “Rain” Happening in Your Prospecting Effort?

Are opportunities plentiful for you with your relationships? Or are you experiencing a ‘drought’? “In like a lamb, out like a lion” is the phrase commonly used to describe March weather and we can certainly identify with that in Kansas. This is a state where you can literally experience all four seasons in one week, from blizzard to spring thunderstorms – we affectionately call this ‘Thundersnow’ (cue AC/DC playing Thunderstruck in the background). I think these crazy weather patterns really provide great insight into the rhythms we adopt in our prospecting effort. We start and are gung ho with tornadic breeze levels of effort, lightning fast execution of basic ideas and then it fades into a gentle breeze that doesn’t even move a leaf along. I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in on a presentation on innovation given by 9 Steps grad Jon McGraw of Vision Pursue and Jose Pires of Black & Veatch Leadership Institute of Business Excellence. During this presentation, Jose spoke about how ideas are everywhere, discipline to execute however, is very rare. I see this so often with professionals I engage with in the community and recognize that the majority of the value I bring as a coach/mentor is to remind them to identify the right level of activity and follow it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. of EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. of EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. Yes I raised my voice. The biggest lesson you learn when embarking on any journey is to stay the course and recognize it is a very long, arduous journey full of fun pit stops and distractions that can divert you from...
Success Can Be Hazardous

Success Can Be Hazardous

When can landing new business be a dangerous thing? We work diligently in our prospecting effort to land the next BIG ONE. I wrote a previous post on how to land your biggest client ever. It’s a topic that is often discussed as a primary goal to your business development action plan. Let’s talk about when it can be a disastrous move for your business. Size matters in your prospecting effort. Bigger is better. More is Good. It’s all about Excess in Prospecting. Every workshop I teach my participants are all about bagging Bear. Not always is it a good idea to go find a big client, let’s talk about why this can be a bad thing. You have a limited reservoir of the most critical aspect of relationship building and management – time. Every client relationship you bring in – even if someone else does the actual work in delivering your product, requires an ongoing investment of time with you. People buy you, they don’t buy your company. Your reputation and referrability is tied directly to the quality of experience your client has, if it’s stinky, you won’t get referred by them or used by them again. This means you need to know the different transition points within a client engagement – when does the relationship mature. Think of it like dating. There’s the initial attraction stage, the chase, engagement and finally marriage. I’ve been married for more of my life than not married so as the years pass, it’s harder to remember that initial moment when I fell in lust with how he looked in a pair of...
What’s Your Number?

What’s Your Number?

In an introductory meeting this morning I had a potential referral partner make a profound statement.  He said ‘my number for my clients needs to be 1-800- HELP – ME’.   This was shared as he related the position he consistently worked to achieve with his clients.  He wanted to be the first call they made when they had an issue and his role was to serve as a gateway to whatever solution his clients needed.  He just happened to be a financial advisor.  Note he didn’t say he wanted to be the gateway to whatever financial solution his clients had, but any issue they had.  What this highly successful professional recognized is that to earn a position of trust with your relationships, you need to invest effort in building emotional capital through serving their needs, beyond his self-interest. What advice do you provide?  Are you strictly a subject matter expert about your field?  Or are you smart about business and an avenue to resources needed?  One of the first areas of self discovery to explore with your clients is how do they view you.  This is one of the most important discussions you can have with them.  You notice the conversation needs to take place with your clients – this is not an exercise in contemplation of your navel.  I don’t care about what youthink your clients think about you, I care about what they actually think.  Their perception is your reality.  Like it or not. By interviewing your clients you gain insight into your true value proposition and also this gives you the chance to explore all of the issues on the periphery of you...
4 Questions to Ensure You’re Doing what Needs to be Done!

4 Questions to Ensure You’re Doing what Needs to be Done!

Eeek!  I’ve got all these things I have to get done this week and I just don’t know where to start to make a dent!  I am behind on my quota and not quite sure where to go or what to do to hit my numbers for the year/month/week.  Sound familiar?  Let’s talk prioritization… This is actually an area I find the most challenging.  Typically we gravitate towards those activities we are the most comfortable doing and procrastinate on those we are less comfortable with.  Most sales professionals have their favorite activities and these are those that get done consistently, I like many sales people, hate reports.  I will procrastinate with the best of them to avoid filing out my own sales projections, invoice requests or following up with that billing issue.   “The new phone book has arrived, I bet there are businesses I haven’t contacted yet, I have to get my prospecting calls in”  is my mantra when it is time for bi-monthly billing.  And then I have that Midwestern work ethic fulfillment from prospecting (my favorite activity).  We all deal with this issue, just in different areas and some better than others. Let’s talk through developing your priorities for sales. Who has already engaged you?  What have you sold that you are responsible for delivering on those commitments.  Take care of those who are committed to you because of you.  Remember your prospects bought because of your ability to prove to them you were the solution to their issues.  Deliver. What have you committed to?  Many sales people fail to follow through on their commitments. This is...
The Well That Never Runs Dry

The Well That Never Runs Dry

One of my favorite Sunday School stories was of the poor woman who only had enough oil in her bottle to prepare one last meal for her and her son.  As the story goes she was gathering wood for a fire to make their last meal and were visited by the prophet Elisha who requested she prepare a meal for him.  She explained her circumstances and he commanded her to prepare the meal and also told her that her bottle of oil would not run dry until the famine was eased in the land. This story reminds me a lot of how influence works.  Times have been pretty tough the past few years in a lot of industries.  We have become a part of the statistics in our household with the closing of plants, losing jobs and contracts evaporating.  But much like the widow woman we have something left – and that something is influence.  Influence is one of those tricky words in the English language that pulls an extra heavy load, it is a noun and a verb.  Meaning it is and it does.  And the interesting thing about it is that the more it’s exercised, the greater it gets.  And the less it’s used, the more it diminishes.  You can ‘Be all you can be’ but if you don’t ‘Do what you can do’ it’s pointless. So how is influence used?  It’s pretty simple.  You help people.  By demonstrating genuine interest and caring about other people, you find opportunities.  I teach people how to prospect.  One of their first assignments is to go meet with someone that they hold...