By Jack Daly, The Daly News

Here’s where it starts. A true Sales Professional only sells to people/companies that can benefit from one’s product/service. Once we have determined that there is indeed a fit, it’s in the interest of both the salesperson and the prospect to move forward together. This, then, is where the process of Proactive Pipeline Management begins, and here is how it is done.

Every sales professional should maintain two baskets, one is for prospects and the second is clients. Connecting the two is a conduit called customers. An added benefit is to view an additional conduit from clients into the prospect basket, which are the valuable referrals. See depiction below-

Prospects are people who we have never done business with previously. Customers are occasional buyers, or people who buy one product from us when we offer much more. Clients are the best, buying regularly from us and doing a significant amount of business with us, along several product lines. Professional sales people build what I call a Clientele, which results in not having to worry about paying their house payment, car payment, and lifestyle payments. These professionals have ensured themselves a continuing cash flow/income, and therefore can consistently act in the best interests of the client, instead of “having to sell” to make one’s monthly payments! This is a key competitive advantage that the Top 10% have over the majority of selling competitors. An extra benefit of building a Clientele is they tend to be a great source for Referrals, which is the richest opportunity for a Sales Professional.

The process of Proactive Pipeline Management should be performed at least once a month, although my most robust growing clients are doing the process weekly. I call it “INSPECT THE BASKETS”, and here is how it’s done. Someone (Sales Manager) meets with the Sales Professional and asks who is the number 1 prospect, when they were last touched, how often they have been touched in the last 90 days, in what ways they have been touched, and asks “what standing in the way of them becoming a customer?”. Once this account is thoroughly reviewed, then Prospect #2 is reviewed similarly, and on down the list. I would recommend going at least 20 deep in the Prospect basket. Next reviewed are the Customers, in the exact same fashion. Again, going at least 20 deep. We then move on to the same process with the Clients, inquiring how we can win even more business from them, where both Client and Seller can benefit. Last, we should have a process of regularly asking for Referrals, and the best source is often our happy Clients. If a Sales Person does not have a Sales Manager providing this on an ongoing basis, it is in their best interests to enlist someone who will. Be sure to have someone who is strong and demanding, which will pay the greatest dividends to you.

This one simple Process – INSPECT THE BASKETS – will translate into higher sales, greater bonding with your customers/clients, and increased income for the Sales Professional. Remember the old adage- Inspect what you expect!