Are you investing serious time on this?
“In the last 3-4 or more years, I am pretty much there. I have not grown beyond the mark to market appreciation”, said a (distributor) friend, Paras (to me) last week. I asked him, “Why do you think this is happening?” He said, “I don’t know. It’s like I have been doing all the things that need to be done. I don’t know what I am missing.”
Does this situation sound familiar to you? Have you experienced it too?
Paras, a seasoned professional in his late thirties (39), thought he was doing all the right things. He was working hard, learning through his study circles (and industry events), and doing a lot of stuff. Yet he felt that he was not achieving what he was truly capable of. As I was having this conversation with Paras, I figured what his real issue was.
I asked him, “How much time do you invest in prospecting?”
Paras quickly responded, “To be very honest, not much.” He seemed to get where I was going with this.
I told him, “There are 2 things that are super critical for the success of any practice/business in our profession. The first one is to have a solid (differentiated and better) value proposition for your prospects. In short, you got to be the best in what you do or at least aim to be the best at what you do. Second, you have to communicate your value proposition or deliver your process /experience to as many prospects as possible.”
There is nothing really more than this – have a solid value proposition and let as many people as possible know about this.
As I have mentioned before, this business is a very unique business, and you can build an amazing practice with 100 ideal clients or less (this is for practices run by a single professional and a few support staff). If you believe 100 is too less and want to aim for 200 that’s fine too but anything beyond that will create a bloat (loads of unprofitable clients) in your practice.
The question then is, “Do you have 100-200 ideal clients?”.
Many solo professionals even at a Rs.100 Crore Assets Under Management do not have 100 Ideal Clients. They have more than 100 Clients but not 100 Ideal Clients.
Coming back to the main point then – Prospecting is the Most Important Activity for you till you reach 100-200 Ideal Clients. Once you cross 100 Ideal Clients, you can then rely on referrals, COI (Centres of Influence) Marketing and other tactics depending on your niche or the nature of your clients.
Did Paras have 100 Ideal Clients?
No. He did not but he was still super busy with all the study circle stuff, events organized by knowledge experts (who have never built a real business in this profession/industry) and multiple activities. In short, he was playing “Practice – Practice or Office – Office).
By the time this post is published, the budget would have happened. Neither do I waste my time on the budget nor give seemingly intelligent but completely useless quotes or write ups to the media. I am guilty of wasting time on this earlier, but I quickly recovered from this lunatic behaviour. In fact, many in our profession/industry behave as if they are preparing the budget themselves instead of the finance minister. The point that I want to make is that there is so much precious time wasted before the budget, on the day of the budget (listening to the TV the entire day) and after the budget listening to various experts.
We do this because everyone else is doing this despite knowing very well that the budget has absolutely no impact on the future of our business. Yes, you read it right. The budget has literally no long term as well as short term impact on your practice. Prospecting however has – a short term impact as well as a long term one.
Thus, if there is one thing that you should be doing to grow your business, my vote goes to Prospecting.
Do this exercise for 1 week.
- Simply divide your day into 3 blocks of time – morning, afternoon and evening.
- Do this on a simple piece of paper and then write down the activities that you did that day. You can write this as you are closing for the day.
- On the 5th or 6th day, simply look at where you have spent your time. You will quickly see a trend.
The point of this exercise is that it will first give you clarity in terms of your time asset allocation and second a realization that you are investing enough time on Prospecting. As I have mentioned in a previous post, a substantial portion of your time has to go into prospecting every day. The reason every day is because it builds discipline. Prospecting is not something to be done when you have time. You have to do it every day. Like you have to eat well or exercise (or walk) every day (regularly) to be fit, so do you have to prospect every day to build a healthy business.
Lack of discipline in prospecting = lost business and slowdown of real business growth.
Prospecting is the need of the hour for every practice and business that wants to grow. When you meet prospects and get them to experience your value proposition, one of these two things happen – You either sign up a client or you learn. You keep doing this (prospecting) and you will get better and better. Once you master this discipline, you will become simply unstoppable.
Paras got this loud and clear. He has promised to make prospecting his priority for 2022 and beyond.
What about you?
Are you seriously committed to prospecting?
If not, you better get started. If you already are, I would love to know the kind of prospecting you do and the results that you are getting.