In our study of the industry’s elite, we look at a variety of techniques for pipeline management. Some consultants stick to yellow notepads, others create spreadsheets, and others use their own CRM. Our conclusion is that the medium doesn’t matter at all, but the process matters a lot.
The industry’s fastest growing consultant actively Manage their pipeline. They provide enough, but not too much exposure to their prospects and are very thoughtful in every touch point. They have also adapted their strategies to reflect our rapidly expanding digital means of communication.
We thought it might be useful to share some of the tips we’ve gathered over the years for effective pipeline management. The goal is to continually add new prospects to the pipeline, then walk them on their way to becoming long-term, loyal customers. Here are three tips to help you do that:
- – Stratify your pipeline
Over time, there are a variety of contacts that make it into your pipeline. If you’re not careful, you end up with a long list that isn’t very actionable. We recommend splitting your pipeline into three parts, depending on where the relationship is currently:
- Prospects – You’d like to have them as a client, but you haven’t approached them about business.
- Prospects – You’ve had a business discussion and are still working to close them.
- Periodic – They have chosen not to move in with you, or said “not now.”
- – Keep a “new prospect” checklist
There are so many “little things” that make a new professional relationship feel classy and well-organized. We all do things like send follow-up notes from time to time, but most of us could use a more standardized approach. We’d recommend keeping a checklist for new prospects that includes:
- connecting on social media
- research online
- sending handwritten notes
- having unprofessional contacts
- Thoughtful touch (ie article clipping)
- – Start every day with your pipeline
We worked with a mentor a while back who told us that a new habit she developed paid off for coaching her with us. what was it? He used to stop in the lobby every morning to spend a little time with his plumbing. He thought about each person, the next steps, and what action he needed to take, before getting into the “distraction zone” of his office.
what is your routine? Do you have your pipeline open on your screen when you arrive each morning? Do you share this with your team or manager every week? Every little accountability helps.
These three tips are structural in nature, but there is a skill side as well. How can you continue to drive leads through your pipeline?
A key component of this is thinking about next steps before your potential meeting. Before the meeting, if you’re thinking of inviting them to your next intimate event, asking them to have lunch with your spouse, or offering a visit to your office – you can Will be more likely to arrange this next step. Mini-closing is not about closing the business; It’s about closing in on the next step in the process.
Pipeline Management is nothing revolutionary, but it works. Prospects are hard enough to find, don’t let them slip through the cracks once you start your process.
We love new ideas, what’s your system for managing your pipeline?