An empty pipe is merely a cylinder taking up space. Likewise, if your “pipe” of contacts is either empty or stagnant, you’re wasting real estate— and losing potential revenue streams.
The Alaska Pipeline would be an 800-mile eyesore if not for its function as a transport system for oil from Prudhoe Bay, AK to Valdez, AK. Why, then, do some people insist on making their contacts pipeline an eyesore that sits on their desks, collects dust, and does nothing to increase sales?
A good salesperson keeps their pipeline flowing with contacts, deals, referrals, network events, and any other useful items that will keep their business growing and flourishing. A good salesperson uses their pipeline as a spring board for increasing future monetizing opportunities as well as maintaining positive relationships with current prospects and contacts.
Whether you’ve decided to scrape the rust off or simply increase the flow, here are a few suggestions to keep your pipeline in optimal working order:
1) Identify prospects
Prospects are like mosquitoes in Texas after a heavy rain: They’re everywhere, and it’s hard to miss them. But instead of applying a healthy layer of Off! to keep them at bay by not initiating contact, you need to go outside with a huge sign pointing to where the best blood can be had. And by ‘outside’ I mean trade shows, networking events, chambers of commerce, alumni events— it’s harder to NOT find an event/location than to find a prospect.
2) Ask for referrals
After closing a deal, ask for leads. You’ve sealed the deal by, I assume, making a positive connection with a prospect who needed what you had to offer, so what better source to find others with wants similar to theirs with whom you can build a working relationship?
3) Generate leads
Utilize landing pages and QR codes; they are your new friends. They work 24/7/365 without food, water, or a paycheck. Put a call-to-action in EVERY piece of collateral. Why? Your business is to drive business to your business. How will your targets know where to travel if you don’t give them a map with directions?
So pipe up, not down, when it comes to your contacts/leads/referrals. In sales, there’s no such thing as a clogged pipe; rather, in our parallel world, an empty pipe is a sign of trouble to come.