There is a reason to do work in a certain order, to plan your week, to be a disciplined “me manager.”
You don’t always get to decide when you do some of the work that you need to do each week. Some clients need you to be available when it fits their schedule. Some prospective clients are only available at certain times, and sometimes the time they have available conflicts with the plans you’ve made.
You don’t live in a perfect world. But if you did, this is what it should look like.
Above the Funnel
You should first do the “above the funnel” work you have to do each day.
If you don’t do this work first, it is likely that it will never get done. You will have clients that need your time and attention. You will have urgent issue that creep up and steal your time. You may be distracted and fall into a reactive mode, waiting for that next email to pop up or the phone to ring.
You will not prospect if there is something you can do that feels like work, even if it doesn’t produce the result you need (unless you are a hustler, of course, then you’ll make your calls no matter what, because that’s what hustlers do).
In the Funnel
You want to do this work first. No one understands the desire to start at the bottom of the funnel and work the deals closest to closing first, ensuring that you get them across the line now. By closing deals, your client realizes the value of your solution now, and you book the revenue now, and everybody is happy.
By putting “in the funnel” deals first, you will neglect your “above the funnel.” You will sit on your deals like a mother hen, patiently waiting for them to hatch. If you are being honest, you know that you make the call, schedule the appointment, or run the meeting you need to run to move these deals through in an hour.
Work on “in the funnel” deals second. Do your “above the funnel” prospecting and nurturing work first, then move everything in the funnel forward.
You are not a farmer, and you are not an order-taker. But you also can’t neglect your existing clients.
Your existing clients are a source of future opportunities. After you have done the “above the funnel” work, and after you’ve done the “in the funnel” work, you have to work on what has already come through the funnel.
What new challenges do your clients have? What new ideas do you have that will create a new and greater level of value for them?
Make the calls, schedule the meetings, and identify new opportunities. Those new opportunities go right back into the funnel and ensure you are maximizing the value of your client relationships and building a rock solid pipeline.
Work your funnel from above, to within, to below to create, win, and maximize your opportunities.