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How to evaluate prospecting methods

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Evaluating a practice to determine how to market requires honest soul-searching. It’s bad when we are dishonest with others. It is also damaging when we aren’t honest with ourselves.

In order for a practice to improve for growth, we must be aware of our shortcomings and once they are identified, we must be willing to correct them. It’s hard to admit when we are wrong, but admitting our faults puts us on the road to getting better at what we do. If we need more education about our industry, instead of denying the need, we should acknowledge it. Then we can set aside the time necessary to get what we need.

I have found that a significant number of producers pass off shortcomings as skills they don’t really need. They may just be too lazy to really do the work necessary. It’s also embarrassing, in our world, to admit that we are inadequate in some areas.

That’s ok; actually nobody really needs to know that we have realized that our failures are our own fault. We can just quietly and discreetly go about improving. No big announcements are necessary, just the resolve to accept the problems and the character to make them right.

Addressing prospecting with evaluation in mind, we need to discover what really works for us. Be careful with the “for us.” Just because methods work for others doesn’t necessarily mean that they are transferrable concepts for our practice.

We are bombarded with wonderful new and exciting prospecting methods. Some are useful to us and some are not. This is where evaluation comes in. Don’t fall into the feelings trap either. Sometimes our feelings betray us. I have to beware that a bad feeling about a prospecting method isn’t just my excuse for being lazy. It may be that I just don’t want to do the work necessary or spend the money necessary to execute a good method.

A note about character: Character may require doing something right until it becomes something that we are instead of just what we do. Studying and executing is what needs to be done when we don’t want to or don’t feel like it until it becomes a habit. If this were easy, all lazy people would be successful. In order to stop feeling like a loser we must not act as losers act.

This article is not meant to address moral issues, only character issues. They can be related but they can also be dealt with separately. Producers can get into a deadly habit of chasing the next new idea. Character allows us to stick to a proven (by us) and successful process.

Sometimes processes don’t produce the expected outcome. Our processes may even begin to erode in effectiveness over time. It’s best to evaluate what adjustments can be made. If the adjustments don’t help and it looks like a dead end road is ahead, that’s the time to look for additional or alternative methods.

One last word on identifying problem areas: Be careful not to just treat symptoms, you must treat the problems. Like with cancer, if we just treat the sore and not what causes the sore, we can get into a great deal of trouble.

Solid character will allow us the patience to look past the symptoms to observe, evaluate, and solve the real problems. Character breeds confidence, not pride. Pride will hurt you but confidence will not. Pride makes you not likable, confidence draws attention in a positive way. Pride is boastful, confidence needs no boasting. Pride will hold you back, confidence will advance your cause. Pride can make you money, but lose more precious things than money. Confidence will make you money and retain the more precious things. Pride will stop you from being honest with yourself, confidence feeds on honesty.

Your practice can, and will improve, when you decide to evaluate honestly and execute confidently.