I had a fitness assessment on the weekend (don’t ask), and as usual we got around to discussing nutrition. We talked about something that I knew, understood, but have chosen to ignore for the last little while; the fact that having a steady number of small balanced meals a day, say five or six, actually result in the body burning fuel more efficiently than when one consumes three “big square” meals a day (and a bunch of snacks on the side). What was interesting was the way he drove the point home.
He compared it a camp fire, I told him that my idea of roughing it is black and white TV. He went on to describe the impact of throwing a big fat log on the fire, versus steadily adding smaller amounts of small pieces of fire wood. The big log smothers and burns slowly giving off low heat, the energy consumed in igniting the log. The smaller steady approach provides good hot flames burning progressively and efficiently, and as a result the preferred method. “I’ll take your word, I’m a city guy”, but it made sense, and I knew the point he was trying to make was true.
And so it is for your pipeline and prospecting.
You need to have a consistent steady approach to reap maximum results. But many sales people approach prospecting as though they were a Huge Log looking for a fire. You see this manifests itself in a number of ways. One common practice is the “weekly call blitz”, what a log. Do nothing all week, and then bam, turn it on, warm up your pipeline, score a touchdown all at once. But what happens if a client calls, or you have an off day, or you have to put out a fire? What’s the reality of ramping it up and maintaining the level of energy needed for three hours on a Friday morning or afternoon, after having ignored the activity for a week? Further, by spreading out your prospecting through the week, you have a better shot connecting with those who may not be in their office on your “blitz” day.
Another example is when a rep gets sight of a “big log”, and they spend time, energy, resources, hard work, and practice their craft in landing that big one. I have seen rep after rep work hard and do the right things in selling that “big one”, but forget to do one thing in the process, prospect for the next one. They make the sale, and then what? You spend valuable time rekindling the fire; worse once again they ignore the smaller easy to burn fire wood along the way, eventually they do find the “big one”, and start the cycle over again. We see it time and again, high peaks – low valleys, feast and famine, the preventable “ups and downs” of sales. But it doesn’t have to be. If they would spend just a bit of time prospecting, steadily adding fire wood to the camp fire, keeping the flame strong and hot, strong enough to withstand the impact of the “big log” when it lands, while allowing them to deliver optimal efficiency.
Just like with proper nutrition, as I said above, we choose not to understand or have chosen to ignore the fact that a steady blended approach makes for better results.
What’s in Your Pipeline?