In last month’s column, I described how to use tools such as AutoText and Text Lightning to write faster and better. For more info, go to my Web page www.billgood.com/advisor productivity. Now let’s talk about how these and other technologies apply to your sales pipeline.
A sales pipeline is, by nature, a management mess. You work hard to get people in, but then they jump out. A few whoosh right along toward a buying decision. Some you nearly have to drag to the finish line, and others get ejected because they are so unpleasant as to make business or even life hardly worth living. A few jump back in.
Others who had been communicating go “dark.” A few buy when you did not expect it, and many you think are certain to become clients surprise you and take your ideas and go to a competitor.
The pipeline is a roiling, shifting, leaky affair. Your skill in managing the pipeline is vital. Certainly one skill is sealing the hated cracks.
Let’s suppose you have set a first appointment for Bob Loblaw four weeks down the road. He is a prominent consulting engineer but he will be out of the country for three of those weeks consulting on a bridge in Iceland. In four weeks, you can die in his mind. Or someone else can weasel in.
The usual way to confirm an appointment that is no more than a week or 10 days away is to send a confirmation email today. Send a letter a week before. Call the day before.
But what about the four weeks he’s mostly inIceland? Can you lightly place some emails in his inbox to keep your name alive?
Key concept: Prepare your communication plan right now. Don’t write yourself reminders to “Send Bob an email.” Everything is fresh in your mind right now. Do the emails now. Send them later using a feature of Outlook called Delay Delivery.
A Law to Seal Cracks
Here it is: A prospect moving in the pipeline needs to hear from you at least once a week.
I want my name in front of Bob at least three times during the three weeks he is gone. My total contacts will be six.
1. Confirm the appointment by email today. AutoText is fine for this.
2. Print a confirmation letter. File it in a 1-31 file to mail seven days before the appointment.
3. Set reminder to call and confirm day before.
Now let’s fill the blank spot in the pipeline. Huge leak potential. Prepare three different emails right now, and use the “Delay Delivery” option in Microsoft Outlookto schedule delivery.
4. Send an article the day before he leaves. It should be related to one or more of his goals. Since you are using an attachment, set it up with Text Lightning. Your boiler plate email could read:
Here is an article I thought you should read. It offers some insightful remarks on the latest theories on how much you should consider withdrawing from your 401(k) once you retire.
P.S. Before you leave forIceland, send this to your iPad. You will certainly have some time on the plane for some quiet reading.
(Use your P.S. to personalize a boilerplate email.)
5. Send an article of general interest before he returns. Schedule it just a day or two before he flies home. Always keep several articles that you can send to people who are in a blank spot in your pipeline.
I found this piece on overcoming information overload. I was able to use some of its tips to do a better job of sorting through the fire hose of data I deal with every day. I thought it might be useful for you.