To do that, you’ve got to work smart, and you’ve got to work fast. There’s no time to waste with the wrong prospects, the ones that won’t be able to make up their minds, or clearly won’t be ready to do business with you until many months ahead.
But neglecting those prospects in favor of the ones you’re more confident about closing now can be a huge mistake.
If you’ve been selling for even a short while, you’re probably familiar with the dictum that it takes seven “touches” before a prospect is ready to buy from you. Seven may not be the magic number, but it’s rare to find a new prospect and close a deal without a number of intermediate contacts.
Those contacts can be via phone, email, LinkedIn, or even a quick in-person visit, but however you make them they build to a cumulative feeling of familiarity, comfort, and, ultimately, trust.
The trick is to organize your time so that, while your main focus is on those prime prospects that are ready to buy now, you’re wisely devoting enough prospecting and nurturing energy to future sales. If your sales are down in Q3, it may well be because you weren’t allotting enough time to prospecting in Q2.
Prospecting and Nurturing
Technology provides great efficiency for organizing your work and time and for making those important “touches” that keep you on your prospects’ radar. Below is a three-item checklist for being there now with future opportunities while you’re being here now making today’s sales.
- Schedule prospecting time in advance
Not having time for any activity we want in our lives, from morning meditation to visits to the gym, is a rationalization we create in lieu of making those things part of our regular schedule. Don’t kid yourself. Instead of waiting for some “spare moments” that never materialize, decide how much time you want to dedicate to prospecting and put that commitment in writing on your calendar.
- Organize your pipeline
Take advantage of CRM software to manage all your sales activities, including your prospecting and nurturing work. Prioritize prospects according to sales readiness, account value and closing potential. There may be a lot to consider, and prospects may change categories as you go forward, but establishing a system and sticking to it can give you a huge advantage in accomplishing more with less time.
- Nurture prospects at pre-set intervals with targeted messages
Staying connected with prospects has never been so easy and efficient as it is with today’s marketing automation tools. You can prepare touch base emails well in advance, and schedule a series of messages geared to different industries and various levels of sales prospects.
The most essential ingredient is a strong intention to keep future sales activity in focus while you’re busy closing this quarter’s business.
…Because when the next quarter arrives and there aren’t enough ready prospects in your pipeline, you’re going to be living off last Q’s commissions. So by all means, segment your leads and focus on the timely closes now, but don’t neglect the importance of nurturing the rest of the flock along…
We’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions or rebuttals. Feel free to share your comments below or write to me personally at joe@pmaAdvantage.com