by Tony Vidler
A simple prospecting idea which usually pays off is simply re-connecting with those who you have spent time with, but did not do any business with. I am talking about “prospects” from 6 months ago…or 12 months ago.
There are always people we are seeing who are potentially great customers, but for whatever reason the timing just isn’t right for them to do business. If we are smart we get those people into our CRM system and keep them on mailing lists and “touch base” every so often of course, but that isn’t the same as re-connecting – which is all about checking in and finding out how their world is working now.
At least once a year (but preferably 2 or 3) spend about an hour or so literally scrolling through your diary of the last year and looking at the appointments you’ve had, and you’ll probably be amazed at the number of names in there where you say “gee, I should touch base with them“. It inevitably throws up a dozen people that are genuine prospects, and whom we have allowed to lapse into a bit of a remote relationship because everyone was busy and the timing wasn’t quite right back then (whenever “then” was).
A simple phone call to each of them where we just have a chat and re-connect is usually all it takes to re-ignite business opportunities. The key to it is actually in not talking about the past discussions or recommendations until or unless they bring it up.
What you want to do is just have a conversation about how their world is working and what the issues or victories have been for them…find out a bit more about them and what is happening and that deepens the trust and relationship, as well as typically resulting in them leading the chat back into the original business discussion.
We need to move away from the old world thinking of “get 10 prospects, and sell 3 of them on having a meeting with us so that we can get 1 client”. That 10-3-1 routine is exhausting, inefficient, and sales focussed. Think about 10-10-10 instead.
Get 10 prospects. Engage fully with all them and eventually – when the timing is right for each of the 10 – we will meet them and begin the process. Even more eventually, all 10 of them will choose to engage us. It just often works out that 2 or 3 will engage us within the nex 1-3 months…and another 2 or 3 within 4-8 months, and maybe another in 12 months…and another 4-6 will become clients in the next couple of years if we have maintained the relationship and continued to engage with them.
If talking to existing clients is the easiest business in the world, surely the second easiest business to get is from those where the relationship is right, but for whatever reason, the timing wasn’t right to do business a while back.
Check through those past appointments, make some calls and reconnect – you’ll probably be amazed at what comes out of it.