There is only one factor that determines whether your opportunity is hot. That single determinative factor is dissatisfaction. You have been told that when you start planning your week, you must start with your hot opportunities because those are the opportunities that you have the greatest possibility of moving and eventually closing.
So Monday morning you schedule activities that move all of your biggest and best opportunities forward. Now what?
Call on your coldest non-opportunities. Call on your list of dream clients, the clients for whom you can do the your best, mind-blowing, value-creating work. Call on the list of clients that have absolutely zero interest in speaking with you right now.
The truth of the matter is, that your hottest opportunities are your hottest opportunities because they have the dissatisfaction that is a condition precedent to a deal. Stay with me here; this gets tough. Because these opportunities are hot doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the opportunities that produce the results that you or your company need. They are usually something less.
Much of the time—more than most of us would care to admit—some of the hottest opportunities are smaller, transactional clients for whom we can do good work, for whom we can remove the source of their dissatisfaction, but that don’t in anyway press us or stretch us to our limits. They don’t provide a lot of growth.
These “hot” opportunities almost always take precedence over any other activity—especially the cold non-opportunities on your nurture list. This results in you ignoring your dream clients. With these non-opportunities is where you find growth. They already have a partner in your space. They are not dissatisfied. They are exceedingly difficult to penetrate, and they are loyal to their partner (sometimes to a fault). At the same time that your dream clients are cold, non-opportunities, they also spend the most money in your space, they have the kind of challenges that provide you with the best hope of doing revolutionary work and, if won, have the greatest impact on your results and your success.
They sit untouched on a list that you made a long time ago with the intentions of nurturing them, having a presence, and being there and known when the dissatisfaction crept in. The list was long ago abandoned for easier, “hotter” opportunities. These cold, non-opportunities will not become hot opportunities for you if you do not spend the time and energy necessary to nurture the relationships. You can’t develop the relationships you need to gain an opportunity after the dissatisfaction appears and hope to be in a place to take advantage. If you have not done your time, if you have not developed and nurtured the relationships, you won’t even be on your dream client’s radar. Instead, some hungry, aggressive competitor who spent the last 18 months building and wiring a network within your dream client will eat your lunch.
The reason you ignore the cold, non-opportunities is because they are the most challenging to move. Ignoring them for lesser, “hotter” opportunities only means that you will go longer without any chance of winning the deals that make a difference for you, for your company, and for your dream client.
After you move what’s hot, move on to what is not hot. Jump on the dream client list and hit it with your nurture toolkit.
Taking advantage of the hottest opportunities in your pipeline produces sales results. But greater results are produced when you are finally able to move the coldest, non-opportunities. Nurture your dream clients, especially when they are cold.
- What makes an opportunity “hot?”
- How much time do you spend on “hot” opportunities that only just meet your target or qualifying criteria? Do these opportunities provide the results and the growth that you and your company need?
- How much time do you spend (daily!) working on your coldest, non-opportunities? How much time do you spend working on nurturing your dream clients?
- What prevents you from spending more time developing the relationships with your dream clients? How could you spend five times as much time working on developing relationships within your dream clients? How much would you increase and improve your odds of being considered when the dissatisfaction set in if you already had the relationships you needed? How would impact your ability to win the opportunity later?
- Open your calendar. Block out five two-hour blocks in the next five days and title them NURTURE DREAM CLIENTS (all caps). Break out your nurture toolkit. Make the calls. Send the emails. Make the appointments. Schedule the lunches. Send the analysis. Send the white paper. Send the news article. Invite them on the tour. Share your big idea. Listen to their big idea. Make the introduction to their dream client. Make yourself useful. Do something to create value.
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