When do you start planning for new business?

by Will Rotondi

I hope your answer is yesterday. It takes time to warm up your cold leads – those who know next to nothing about you, or what you do – to the idea of a partnership. The more costly or time-consuming your product or service is, the longer your initial prospecting cycle will be.

Notice I said prospecting – not sales cycle. Leads will become part of your normal sales pipeline once they’re vetted as true prospects. That kind of confirmation requires a phone call to establish what their needs are, and whether they’re even a fit. Once you have that call, and they’re even remotely interested, you’ll have them in your sales cycle. Not before.

So how do you get to the phone call? Start with establishing relationships through email. Write brief, informative messages – think of it like a “I saw this and thought of you” kind of letter – that touch on news in their industry, pain points, etc.

Don’t sell. Just educate. Repeat every 2 weeks. When the time is right, your leads will respond.

Think I’m peddling a fake “miracle cure” for new business? Building relationships through email can be effective in more than just your prospecting efforts. Some already use it to position themselves for their next careers, says Fast Company.

Whatever system you currently use to reach your ideal leads, spend more time now to develop those new business relationships before you find yourself in the red.


You wouldn’t cook with the wrong ingredients, or expect it to be done faster than the recipe calls for.
Why, then, would you expect your prospects to convert to leads any faster?
Invest the time now and you won’t burn your chances for new business when you’re hungry for it.

more insights