Is it possible for a huge database of contacts or thousands of friends or followers to actually reduce your sales output? Yes!
This isn’t another rant on quality over quantity in lead generation. Or a diatribe on how critical lead management is to sales. It’s an important sales discussion about focus, discipline, and misplaced hope.
In sales we often pride ourselves in our ability to hunt. Collecting names, numbers, emails, business cards, and friends make us feel secure. We know it’s a numbers games with lots of No’s for the occasional Yes.
Although all true, it’s exactly this programming that can lead sales people into a dangerous rut.
Collecting without Sales Process
There are packrats and there are curators. You can clearly see the difference.
If you walk into the office or home of a packrat there are arbitrary stacks and piles of stuff–old newspapers, magazines, pieces and parts, trinkets and toys. All these things landing where they may and there they stay. There is little in the way of organization or movement.
Contrast that with a curator. Every item is carefully and quickly reviewed, characterized, and categorized. Put in its proper place for later use. Things flow in and things flow out. There is movement.
A carefully developed sales process is the difference between us being packrats of leads to carefully curating and nurturing leads to deals. A sales person without a disciplined process that moves leads forward is a graveyard for good leads.
The worst part…those without a good sales process often hoard like a packrat–collecting, taking, or requesting the most leads!
Collecting without Engaging Leads
The other danger with incessant collecting is focusing the easy and avoiding the scary.
Face it getting lots of arbitrary followers and filling a database with random names is simple. In some cases you can even automate or buy this gathering of prospects. However, engaging these folks in a conversation, connecting with them in a meaningful way, even taking the risk to introduce yourself makes even the most seasoned sales professional anxious.
It’s much more comfortable (and misleading) to measure success by collections of leads, avoiding the true measure of sales progress–how many scary, new conversations did you have this week?
Collecting without Cleaning House
Kicking a lead out of your sales pipeline is another scary, but necessary process.
Letting a lead go is like peeling your fingers off that soft childhood security blanket. You’re afraid you won’t get another lead to replace it or your letting go of future opportunity. But hanging on means you are wasting precious sales activity on something that’s not ready to close–there are other, more productive ways to manage that lead.
The secret to avoiding this bad sales habit is to carefully observe and define the characteristics of a good lead. This makes it much easier to sort the good for the bad and the hot from the cold. It also gives you the confidence to kick it lose, to another process, and the motivation to work harder on the ones you know are the best opportunities.
Keeping a clean sales pipeline is the best way to “narrow” your sales pipeline and squeeze out more sales.
Collecting without Closing Sales!
Are you on this dangerous path? Have you developed these avoidance behaviors? It’s easy to find out–look at your sales numbers. Up or down? Are you letting whole days go by without a good conversation?
Don’t get trapped in the collection trap–process and close!