You ain’t got no alibi – your pipeline’s ugly!

Yeah, fourth quarter is busy, I get that, but prospecting is about the last thing a producer should ignore.

If you don’t maintain prospecting activity for the last three months of the year, you are digging a hole that will make a successful 2019 much harder than it needs to be. (Photo: Shutterstock)

I hear benefits producers complain about the fourth quarter all the time. They talk about how crazy it is, there are so many renewals to handle, there just isn’t enough time for everything.

Suddenly, they have themselves convinced that there isn’t time to get everything done, and something has to go. Unfortunately, prospecting is usually the first thing to be eliminated. Seems like a legitimate reason to avoid the task they hate most, right?

Right action, wrong activity

Kevin Trokey is founding partner and coach at St. Louis-based Q4intelligence.

Yeah, fourth quarter is busy, I get that, but prospecting is about the last thing a producer should ignore. If you don’t maintain prospecting activity for the last three months of the year, you are digging a hole that will make a successful 2019 much harder than it needs to be.

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Prospecting momentum is hard enough to maintain, but to restart it after it comes to a complete stop makes the challenge exponentially harder.

Successful producers make prospecting a top priority. Sure, they may not be able to commit quite as much to it during fourth quarter as they do the rest of the year, but they block out time every week to stay on top of their prospecting efforts.

On the other end of the spectrum are those struggling producers who only prospect when their pipeline is empty.

Many don’t even prospect, they just wait for random opportunities to find them. It’s no surprise they never achieve consistent results and find themselves working on any accounts who will listen.

Make the 4th quarter more manageable

If you understand what needs to be eliminated and what needs full focus, not only will the quarter be more manageable, 2019 will be more successful.

Do not

• Get involved in routine service issues your team should be managing • Spend time in carrier discussions about every renewal and every option • Allow yourself to be random about scheduling your week

Do…

• Maintain your focus to manage a hectic fourth quarter • Hold yourself accountable for both quality and quantity of prospects in your pipeline • Block out time every day (at least most days) for prospecting • Identify your weekly “have tos” and dedicate time on your calendar for their completion • Plan for a successful, more manageable 2019

I’ll argue that with proper discipline, you do have time for everything you need to be doing—even in the fourth quarter. The key phrase is “need to be doing.” Anything else is just busy work.

Discipline isn’t just for 4th quarter anymore

Really, these “do nots” and “dos” are rules you should follow all year long, but with the craziness of fourth quarter, you just don’t have a choice. Your competition won’t find the discipline they need, and will let their prospecting efforts go, which is exactly the reason that it is time for you to push your sales efforts harder than ever.

Selling is a four-quarter game. If the offense doesn’t take the field for all four quarters, it’s not going to win.

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