I’m not green fingered by any stretch of the imagination – but I’ve been guilty in the past of trying to cultivate prospects that were in effect weeds in my veg patch.
As opposed to wasting time thinking we can nurture these ‘wild plants’ in the hope that they flower into fabulous future clients and customers, why don’t we pull them up by the root, toss them in the recycle bin and turn our attention to crops that have a high yield potential and need our attention?
We call this ‘going for the no’ – which is completely counter intuitive and goes against everything I’ve been taught to do historically. “Ask open ended questions; get the client to say yes, yes, yes! ……”
It’s like forcing rhubarb – keep prospects in near darkness and force them to strain to the candlelight until they give in and grow. Unlike rhubarb which will ripen and be ready for eating, forcing prospects to do business leaves a sour taste – and even if they add to your harvest short term, it’s unlikely you’ll reap long term business.
The thought of disqualifying prospects makes sense intellectually (i.e. wouldn’t my time be better spent growing my current clients and working with those prospects who want, need and are willing to pay for what I have to offer) – but sometimes we’re comforted emotionally by the fact that we have lots of ‘prospects’ in our pipeline. The truth of the matter is that spending time trying to force those who in reality have no need, interest or desire to work with us is like starving our entire garden of nutrients – whilst the weeds will continue to dominate, our precious prospects wither and die.
Anyway, I’m off into the garden – anyone else picking up their hoe and clearing away those weeds and dead wood?