Our discussion this week has been on priming your prospecting pump. We discussed some strategies that you should use that can bring value to your prospect even before you ask for an appointment.
Today, let’s talk about keeping the air out of your worn out pumps. Not the shoes – your pipeline.
On a well, priming the pump is the first step in bringing a consistent flow of water to a home. But occasionally that pump can stop working. Sometimes – it is some problem with the motor in the actual pump. Sometimes it is that the water level gets too low and the pipe is exposed to air. Whatever the problem, when gaps of air get into the pipe it creates problems with the water flow.
In sales, there will be a certain amount of lag time in your sales cycle between the time you begin prospecting and the time you are paid your commission. In the employee benefit arena, I educated my new sales agents about that lag time. In a perfect world, where one contact generated the initial appointment and in one meeting the company approved the program – it would still take around two weeks to complete the entire process from contact to payment of commission.
Additionally, your income will follow your activity level – both up and down. So if your sales cycle is a two week process from start to finish – your income will follow your activity by that same time period.
The mistake that very many sales people make is that they allow their “prospecting pump” to develop pockets of air. They do this because when they are in the delivery phase of their sales cycle, and their commissions are coming in – they reduce their prospecting efforts. The next thing you know, they are gasping for air.[lightbox link=”https://jeffcwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/well-pump.jpg” thumb=”https://jeffcwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/well-pump.jpg” width=”199″ align=”right” title=”well pump” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=””]
Avoid those gaps of air in your prospecting pump by doing the following:
- Always allow at least two hours per day for prospecting – even in the delivery and payment part of your sales cycle. I refer to those two-hour periods as Action Blocks. You will normally find it easier to schedule appointments at this time because you have just experienced a “win” and that breeds more success.
- Develop a solid referral strategy. I teach a method of generating referrals called a “Growing Your Sales Through Give and Gain Networks”. It has served me well over the years. I give referrals, make connections for others, and it always seems to come back. Pay it forward.
- Avail yourself to automation. Whether on the internet, via email, or social media – stay up to date on the latest sales technology that is designed to help you keep your pipeline filled.
QUESTION: How long is your sales cycle?