Why is the Prospect Screen your most trusted advisor?
Guest Faculty post by Eric Protzman
The Prospect Screen should be your most trusted advisor.
Think of it this way. You date and you date and you date, then you find the right person and you get married. Dating can be random, opportunistic, indulgent and impulsive, all characteristics you simply can’t afford in marriage.
In the past, what you call prospecting may well be impulsive or opportunistic dating. You may not be taking the time to investigate what is in your best interests.
What we are talking about in prospecting large accounts, transformational accounts, is not dating, it is marriage. Look at the long term implications of having the right customer, or having the wrong customer. I think you’ll get a feel for the strength of the metaphor.
I started Aim Direct Marketing in 1995. Tom Searcy was guiding my business development and very late one night after imagining this and designing that I said to Tom,“I don’t like mission statements and I think most business plans are just a list of things that don’t happen, but I do think we should talk about our core competency”. Bleary eyed and exhausted Tom tilted his head and said, “Where you are right now Eric, your core competency is anything anyone will give you a check for”.
That was just a phase. Do you recall this phase in your business too?
It is an exciting, thrilling and frightening time. But that time gives way to more stable and intentional times. As we become more sophisticated in our mission, our operations and our innovation we may not bring along the same sophistication in our sales efforts. However, opportunistic randomness does not bring about transformational growth. That is why we offer the Prospect Screen structure to move you from luck and magic to a method to control the opportunistic model of a startup company. The Prospect Screen is central to moving from 90% magic and 10% process, to 90% process and 10% magic.
As you draft, (and then aggressively refine), your Prospect Screen, let me encourage you to be (incredibly) selfish.
You got into business for a variety of noble reasons:
1) To create durability for your family
2) To apply your talents unfettered by buzz killers
3) To create value
4) To genuinely serve your customers
I see clients routinely underestimate the value of the Prospect Screen. I see them go through the motions of thinking through the clients and projects they really should have and then fall short of the goals they wish to achieve by reverting to their old habits. We can’t help you if you insist on this.
And in the process you may well
1) Dislike the work your client asks you to do
2) Perform poorly and be evaluated for your next opportunities on something you knew you were not good at before you took it on (Brando Don’t Audition)
3) Be under appreciated or disrespected
4) Take your self away from your healthy growth goals to resource consuming distracting clients or projects
There is a quick and easy Prospect Screen to follow that will help you do better with weeding out the “no win” and poorly performing opportunities in your pipeline of work:
1) We love to do this
2) We are great at this
3) We are respected and appreciated for this
4) This adds to our rapid growth goals
5) We like to work with these people and their company
Take your Prospect Screen seriously like a marriage. Your agreement with the right client is a marriage contract. It is your long term future. Is it going to be happy or miserable? Will it reflect the heart of why you are in business or will you let all the eligible partners dictate your business and your life to you?