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Are You Throwing Good Time After Bad?

We've all heard the old saying ... good money after ... to losing more money on ... rather than ... losses and moving on. Laura was doing the same thing inher business --

We've all heard the old saying "throwing good money after bad"
referring to losing more money on something rather than cutting
your losses and moving on. Laura was doing the same thing in
her business -- only it was time she was wasting.

After two years in business, she was still networking with the wrong
people. As a project management consultant, her ideal target
market consists of large corporations with a designated budget
for managing the processes in their company. The problem is,
she isn't talking to the right people.

"I feel absolutely defeated. I'm not sure I can do this anymore.
Maybe I should be selling something completely different. People
either want what I offer but don't want to pay for it or they don't
see the value in what I offer. I meet prospects at networking
meetings and call them to set up a meeting. Then I spend a day
researching their industry, so that I can speak intelligently during
the meeting. Then on the day of the meeting, I spend half a day
driving to and from their office. Within the next few days, I put
together a proposal for them and send it off. Then I follow-up
with them every week to see if they want to move forward with
the project."

I felt the need to jump in. "Okay, can I stop you for a minute? It
sounds like you're spending a lot of time up-front. Let's say it takes
you 3 hours to drive to/from and attend a networking event, 30
minutes to follow-up with a prospect to set up a meeting, 4 hours
to research their industry to prepare for the meeting, 4 hours to
drive to/from and attend the meeting, 3 hours to put together a
proposal, and 1 hour to follow-up several times. That's 15 1/2 hours
pursuing one prospect."

"And the biggest issue here is that they may or may not end up
being a qualified prospect because it doesn't sound like you spend
any time during your initial conversation making sure they want your
service, can afford your service and are the person to make the
decision to purchase your service."

Laura was floored. "I never even thought about it that way. I just
need to get more business, so I feel like I need to be out there
meeting people and at least getting the chance to send them a
proposal. I don't really have anything else to do at my office
sometimes. If I wasn't doing this, what would I do all day?"

Like Laura, many early-stage business owners feel better if they
are busy, making calls, going to networking events, meeting clients,
doing proposals, etc. But if you're staying busy just to stay busy, you
end up spending a lot more hours working for a lot less money which
usually results in feeling the need to put in even more hours to make
the business "work."

To avoid spending time doing the wrong things with the wrong
people, you have to take the time to evaluate your prospecting
process. It's all about defining what makes a good prospect for
your business and qualifying your leads as quickly as possible before
they get too far into your prospecting process. In Laura's case, if she
formulated just a few questions she could ask leads in order to
determine whether they were interested in her service, could afford
her service, and were in a position to make the decision to buy her
service, she could save numerous hours.

Depending on the complexity of her qualifying questions, she might
be able to do this at the networking event itself or on the initial
phone call she makes to follow-up. So, instead of the purpose of
the phone call being to set up a meeting, the purpose now becomes
to qualify whether or not this "lead" is a "qualified prospect."

In evaluating Laura's prospecting process, there are several points at
which she could potentially save time by:

* networking with corporate decision-makers, not entry-level managers
or small business owners
* qualifying leads on the phone before she sets up meetings
* allowing the prospect to educate her about their company by asking
them questions
* ensuring that the decision-maker is in the initial meeting
* streamlining and automating her proposal process to include only
what is required at this stage

After overhauling her prospecting system, Laura has freed up 12-15
hours/week to focus on improving the other elements of her sales
process, marketing plan, skill development, etc. And, once the sales
start coming through, she'll have more time to allocate to billable
work which will earn her more money while working fewer hours.

So, ask yourself are you throwing good time after bad? Have
you ever actually written out your prospecting process? Do you
know what steps you go through once you meet someone who
might be a prospect?

If not, take 15 minutes right now to write down exactly how you
process your prospects. Start by writing down all of the ways in
which you meet prospects, including ones that come to you
as well as ones you seek out (i.e. networking meetings, trade
shows, web site, calling your office, cold calls, current clients).

Now, follow each of these entry points through step-by-step to
chart exactly what process you take a prospect through. For
example, if you get a lead through your web site, the prospect
might receive information from you automatically via email
before you've ever spoken to them. But, when you meet a
prospect in-person, you might not give them anything tangible.
You might just verbally describe your business or services.

After you have all versions of your process written down,
review them one by one to identify any areas in which you
are investing too much time, chasing unqualified leads, not
providing information that would convince the prospect to
buy, etc.

Once you've identified these areas of opportunity, brainstorm
about how you can re-vamp your prospecting processes to
use your time more efficiently. The less time you waste on
unqualified, underfunded, disinterested leads, the more time
you'll have to invest in qualified, paying clients.

To learn more about making more salesScience Articles, download 10 Ways
To Lose Great Sales Opportunities" at:

Source: Free Articles from


Kimberly Stevens is a Business Life Coach who supports business owners and entrepreneurs in their pursuit of a fulfilling life and profitable business by offering individual and group coaching, ebooks, teleclasses, and live workshops. To learn more about creating a richly rewarding life as a business owner, visit or send a blank email to: for an automatic reply.

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