From the title, you can imagine how this post is going to read. In a nutshell, I need to do a better job of keeping my pipeline filled. Today I spent the whole day calling, emailing and LinkedInning with potential prospects and partners because when I looked at my pipeline AND bank account it was bare.
This summer has been a real learning experience in balancing the needs of the business with the needs of the customers. When I spoke to a prospect, after profusely apologizing for not calling sooner, she asked me, “Why did it take so long to reach out to her?”
My answer was simple and one that many of us have when starting out, especially those in the consulting business. I was so focused on going a great job for my current customers that I forgot to focus on bringing in new business. What doesn’t make this chapter of my entrepreneur journey any better is that I saw the potential for this entrepreneur rookie mistake. I saw the pile of cards that I collected through networking pile up. I knew that my days of following up within 24 hours had extended to days, weeks and in a couple of instances months and yet I still waited. I waited until I don’t have a steady stream of income coming in to do what I should have done initially.
The good news is that when I after calling, emailing, and LinkedInning I realized that no one else followed up and opportunities still exist. Luckily, I was able to get meetings that might turn into revenue for my company. Here are a few of the lessons learned from this:
- Be disciplined. I need to follow my sales process.
- Take the time every day to sell. Customers can’t buy from you if you don’t give them the opportunity.
- Do a great job with current customers. Finish the project. Ask for referrals.
We all have a sales process so your first step might be to document your own. It will change as you grow but if you are going to hire sales help, having a process that can be modified is important. Below is a high level look at my process and can start as a starting point for your company.