When we build a new home or office we make certain it is properly insulated. We depend on this insulation to protect us from the harsh days of each season. When we are faced with the hottest day of the year, the insulation helps to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. Likewise, when that winter storm is approaching with plunging temperatures we expect our properly insulated buildings to help keep us warm. It minimizes the impact of what is really happening. We would never consider buying a home or office building that was not adequately insulated.
Do you treat your actual business the same? Are you consistently focused on adding more protection to your career? If you are in the sales profession, the insulation lies in your prospecting. If you are not prospecting everyday, you make you and your business vulnerable. Have you ever had one of your biggest clients cancel? Shew, now that is a bad day! The problem lies in our surprise that it happened. According to Marketing at Work, a salesperson could lose 10%-25% of business each year. It is going to happen. We should not be surprised. We need to expect it. The reality is that most salespeople continue to think it will not happen to them. Therefore, they are not properly insulated.
The only way to provide the proper insulation to our businesses is to stay focused on bringing in new customers. We must be prospecting warriors. But there is prospecting and there is cherry picking. Which one are you?
Let's talk about the difference. Let me share a story about a trip my parents took a couple of years ago. They had a fabulous vacation to Alaska. While there they spent an afternoon looking for gold. Okay, okay, I know it was a tourist thing, but it looked like a ton of fun. Here's how it went. They held a rectangular box looking thing with a screen covering the bottom of it. They would scoop down into the stream and bring up a small pile of everything laying on the bottom. They would then shake it back and forth sifting the sediment through the screen in hopes that a small piece of gold might be left. This is called prospecting. They had to go through all the stuff that had no value to get to a couple of gold nuggets. Does this sound like prospecting in the sales world? Well, it should. The best business prospectors understand that they must deal with many who will not buy to get to those who turn into wonderful, long term customers.
Now, let's briefly discuss the cherry pickers. I sure hope this does not apply to you. Cherry pickers want to stand above the stream and only deal with the things under the water that they think are gold. They are not willing to sift through the mud and the muck to get to the riches. Plainly stated, they only want to focus on those they deem as "big" possibilities. Cherry pickers usually don't stay in business very long because their funnel is never full of enough prospects.
Prospecting warriors understand that the insulation around their business lies in new business. They understand that without proper insulation(enough prospects), the hot and cold days(when the BIG account cancels) will be difficult to handle. The cherry pickers do great when the weather is perfect, but rarely survive when the weather gets rough.
Are you continually adding insulation around your business? Are you a prospecting warrior or a cherry picker? There will never be a better time than now to start adding more insulation. That cold day is always around the corner and I want you to be prepared to weather the storm!
Written by Derron Steenbergen, President of Swagger Institute
The Swagger Institute is a full service business development company specializing in sales and leadership training, motivational speaking and organizational consulting.