Reconnecting With Your Prospects - The Great Restart (Vol. 9)
Reconnect with all active sales prospects, leading with your high-value content.
This category includes pending prospects who've asked you to follow up in the future - for instance, "Check back in a month" or "Check back in two quarters."
They may not buy - now or ever - but they've at least claimed they want to hear from you in the future.
Create a re-engagement campaign, to reach past prospects.
This category includes prospects who said "no" and prospects that disappeared into The Abyss. They aren't likely to convert now, but it's worth a try.
Why? Some of the "lost" prospects won't be happy with their current providers—and some of the prospects that ghosted you before will suddenly have urgent needs today.
Stay accountable, including your follow up process.
If you aren't doing weekly "sales management" meetings, now is the time to start. They help you (or the salespeople, if you have a broader team) stay on track.
If you are doing sales as the owner and don't have someone to hold you accountable, recruit a colleague. The ideal match as "sales manager" may not be a sales expert, but they're comfortable asking you hard questions.
Consider whether to add new pipeline stages in your CRM, to acknowledge prospects' distraction levels. Your old sales process might need some updates during the pandemic.
Build and strengthen referral partnerships.
If you don't have partnerships (formal or informal), it's time to start. I regularly refer not-a-fit business to other colleagues, and vice versa.
If you have partnerships but haven't been in touch in a while. . . that's not ideal, but now's the time to reconnect.
If you're top-of-mind when a partner hears about an opportunity, that's one less sales opportunity you need to find via cold outreach. And to a point, more referral partners mean more opportunities.
Seek bizdev advice from a range of sources.
Cast a wide net to find the sales and bizdev advice that works for you and your sales team/company. With an eye toward other advisors who specialize in your industry or discipline. We can learn great ideas and strategies from others' efforts and then build our own specific initiatives.
Enlist your team to help.
You'll need to find a balance on billable vs. non-billable work. . . but if client volume is down, use the time to support self-marketing. For example...
- Your strategists and other subject matter experts (SMEs) can support content marketing and other initiatives.
- Your project managers can help you stay on track.
- Your operations team can provide additional support and structure in your sales efforts.
Ask for help—even self-starter employees can't read your mind.
Find ways to take breaks.
If you don't pause occasionally for self-care, you'll burn out. You'll need to find the right approach to handling sales during the pandemic but working 100 hours a week likely won't help.
Why? Because you'll see diminishing returns as you become exhausted. . . and you'll make mistakes that actively hurt your results.
Recognize that you will likely survive this.
If you get through this, you can handle almost anything. You - personally - will likely survive. And if your company doesn't make it, you will likely manage the setback. It will be sad and difficult and expensive. But you will likely emerge again, to pursue new opportunities. Good luck! – Leslie
Don’t accept failure. We’ve called on a prospect and they’ve given us the specs for a job for which they want a quote. We go away happy and we deliver the quote. We don’t get the order and we’re sad, but we’re used to it. What’s wrong with this story? The problem is that we’re used to it and we just go on to the next prospect. As a result, we’re feeding a cycle of spending sales and estimating resources but not building sales while making the competition look good at the same time. The solution is to see the object of the quote as getting the order, not as an exercise of delivering the number from our estimating software. That means that we need to understand that we’ll get the order at a number that is acceptable to the prospect, not a number that works for our estimator. Our focus must be on the value of the project to the prospect and their view of alternative choices, not on our “costs.” Of course it may be that we can’t live with the prospect’s numbers— if that’s the case, it’s a signal to stop calling on them. But, if they have work that fits us and could build our volume, we have to get into their ballpark. - Bob