As we ran across the Cooper River Bridge with 43,998 other people recently, I thought about the run in terms of prospecting. Really, what else is there to think about when you can hardly breathe and your legs feel like redwood tree trunks?
Because running – much like prospecting – is not about speed or strength or muscle. It’s about endurance. Mind over matter: silencing those voices in your head that tell you to stop because this is a ridiculous activity; breathing through cramps that let you know you didn’t drink enough water yesterday; waiting out twinges of discomfort that come and go along the route.
On the way up the bridge I slowed down; it’s not as steep as the old bridge, but it’s still a challenging pitch. It’s the beginning of the third mile, and those who sprinted the first two miles begin to walk. They don’t know the value of pacing: knowing what your process is and how long it takes, practicing that process and regulating the amount of sustained energy you can put into it.
We often meet sprinters in our business; they want immediate results from a process that successfully works at a slower, long-term pace. These guys have invested in every prospecting scheme there is, and are completely frustrated that nothing has produced the results they demand.
Cold calling is dead, if you’re not already aware. Everyone has a phone, but no one talks on it. And the Internet now provides reams of information about you and your company (whether you put it out there or not), enabling prospects to get to know you before they decide you are worth their time. And this takes time.
But what it results in is a more productive conversation once the prospect decides to engage. You can poke and prod (gently) that prospect to engage, but no prospect matures before its time these days. Pushy sales people get pushed right out the door.
Email campaigns are great way to gently remind your prospects who you are, what you’re capable of, and where they can find out more information about you. But they take time. Sit back. Be patient. Do something else. Because email campaigns work while you’re doing other things. Like talking to prospects who are interested in talking to you.