Friday, August 07, 2009

Are they REALLY a Prospect?

From Art:

This Week's Tip:
Ask the Cleansing Question to Clean
Up Your Follow-Up File


A question I received through email asked,

"I've got a lot of prospects pending, but not a lot
closing. What should I do?"

Like many questions I get, that's extremely vague
and requires a lot more information before I could
give a specific detailed answer. But it did get me
thinking about a possible reason, and remedy.

I call it the Cleansing Question. Let me set it up

What percent of the people in your follow-up file at
this very second do you feel will ever do business
with you?

Sixty percent?

More? Less?!

You're fairly typical if you answered 50% or less. It's
not a good percentage, but typical.

Why? Oh, there are several reasons. Reps like to hang
on to prospects, thinking that shred of interest might
eventually turn into something. They're right:
Disappointment, and a waste of time, usually.

Others stake their claim to prospects, tattooing their
name on the prospect's record in the "system," just in
case divine intervention comes into play and the person
decides to call up and order on their own. These reps
then usually pounce upon the order and say, "It's mine.
See, has my name on it."

Ask the Cleansing Question
But, the main reason reps have too many "leads working" is
that they don't ask the tough questions early enough. You
need to find out if the person you're talking to is really
a "player." It's always better to get a "no" early, than
to waste time, effort, paper, and postage chasing shadows
that never will materialize.

Here is what you need to do starting today.
Begin cleaning up your "non-prospect" prospects now. Ask
this Cleansing Question,

"Mr./Ms. Prospect, we've been talking for awhile now, and
have agreed that we'd be able to help you (fill in with
how they would benefit.) I want to be sure I'm not bothering
you, or wasting your time or mine. Tell me, what is the
probability we'll be able to work together in the next month?"

Think of the possible results here.

1. They say, "Zero probability." Great, now at least you can
find out the real problem, or move them out. Movement, forward
or out, is progress.

2. They give some other probability. Good, but not great. You
want to ask what you both need to do to move forward now.
Get specifics. Commitments. Ask them to attach time
frames to the commitments. Don't allow them to continue
putting you off. Again, movement here is success.

3. You just might get the business right now. Perfect.
Sometimes all it takes is the nudge to get the boulder
rolling down the mountain.

Do some late-summer cleaning. Examine your follow-up files.
Prepare you own strategy and ask the Cleansing Question.

Go and Have Your Best Week Ever!


"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they
are far less than the long range risks and costs of
comfortable inaction."
John F. Kennedy


Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

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