Writing Blogs this time of the year has the added responsibility of saying something clever providing a useful slant on the year which is nearly finished. One of my favourite authors for key moments is Paulo Coelho as he really knows how to capture them. Here is one which is very apt for this Blog:
‘Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering…’
Being long in the tooth as I am, I have learnt not to beat myself up over missed opportunities. However, I think that learning from every situation is key. So, every December I make some time to consider and write down a list of my 12 biggest missed opportunities of the year, one for every month, along with the learning and changes I have implementing as a result. I find it very useful because there is always a few I forgot about or not done anything with.
If you find time to do your list this December, I am sure that at least one of those opportunities will be about missing a sale because you did not follow up or kept in touch. We all do it, it’s easy to do as we are all so busy most of the time. Another problem with following up relates to the above quote; With many leads it’s hard to know whether you should wait, chase or forget so we end up not knowing what to do.
Another problem many of us are facing at the moment is the serious lack of decision-making taking place. The combination of election, Christmas and Brexit seem to have stopped many companies from going ahead with proposed plans which can be very frustrating if you are the supplier. If you find yourself with an extensive pipeline but no decisions, here are a few things you could do other than tear your hair out:
- Analyse your opportunities based on buying personas: I have written before about the importance of taking into accounts buying personas. According to DISC research only 35% of people make decisions fast which means that the rest don’t. This is key statistics to remember when considering how to best follow up with an opportunity. I find that colour coding your top opportunities is useful to managing your expectations and planning your next best step. Try it it’s worth the effort!
- Start even more new conversations: This might sound like the definition of madness, but it actually stops you from obsessing too much with sluggish opportunities. Consider which target markets you might like to develop in 2020 and make a start as it can take a while. Here are some tips you might want to consider from a previous Blog.
- Follow up and nurture your leads: Many buyers I speak to often complain about the fact that salespeople move on and stop talking to them too quickly. Don’t be one of them, people are always happy to feel that they are wanted. Just make sure that you use the appropriate behaviour based on their buying persona as above. Watch this video for more information.
I hope this is useful and that you might find some time to write a list of your 12 key missed opportunities and learning in 2019. I will be very interested in any learning you have gained from this.
In the meantime, If you are considering your business development plans for 2020, give me a call to discuss further. Have a lovely festive break and a prosperous 2020!