The telltale schinck of a window opening and a muffled whooshing sound told me undeniably that my broker was on the ledge again. At the highest floor of a downtown building, the limited bars of cell coverage or the wind was making it hard to hear him- it sounded like…” …volatile conditions…ssmshbrssss…short-range perspective…sppppssssksst…REBALANCE YOUR PORTFOLIO!…” and then the phone went dead, possibly from it dropping alone or not alone from a very long distance.
REBALANCE YOUR PORTFOLIO! Now that’s good advice, even from a broker…
Here is what I’m recommending in terms of investing your time in your portfolio of prospects…
1) Invest 30% in new, small deals closing within 60 days: As long as the deals are not one dollar smaller in size than your average deal for 2008. You need fast-closing opportunities for short-term wins. Most buyers are working on a wait-and-see directive because of the economy. Secure a toe-hold in new accounts that generate revenue and get you inside of the organization. This is not my typical advice at all, but these are not typical times.
2) Invest 30% in mid-size deals closing by end of 1st quarter: Mid-size is 2x – 5x the size of your average deal from 2008. You are selling to companies who are going to make promises for a relationship, forecasts for a year and a commitment of 90 days. Work the deal as if the one-year forecast was real and you know that the contract will be for a quarter.
3) Invest 30% in your top 5 accounts from this year, RE-CLOSING your commitments : You read that correctly: re-closing. Those closed accounts are squirming. They’re looking to shorten commitments, reduce order sizes and give themselves wiggle room. This is the time when competitors get their toe-holds. You need to shut down all entrances to your best accounts by re-closing and solidifying your deals. You thought they were rock-solid, right? Well, let’s just go back one more time and make sure.
4) Invest 10% in scouting the mega-deals : Prospects are wary, but they are also planning. They have investors to satisfy and growth appetites to feed. For them, this means putting their plans together and then waiting for a trigger event. That event could be positive signs in the economy, loosening of lending restrictions or an eclipse…who knows. What we know is that when the trigger event happens, you want to be in the spot to be the solution to buy to accelerate their plan.
5) Invest 0% in hunting deals that are closing past 1st quarter. Anything out past 1st quarter for closing right now is scouting, not hunting. I don’t care if this is a government-funded, military contract with guaranteed support of congress, don’t waste your time. One hundred and fifty days from now, nothing will be the same–not the decision-makers, the economic conditions or the business needs.
It comes down to this–the biggest deals out there are going to be broken down into a series of smaller deals and strung together. It’s your job to secure initial, revenue-generating relationships in the end of this year and first quarter of next year. As the economic fog clears, go back and secure the longer and larger portions of opportunity in those deals.
I know, I know, I’m the guy who’s pathologically optimistic about big deals. However, you have to balance your portfolio of prospects in the short-term while there is so much uncertainty, and provide the bigger buyers safe harbor through shorter and smaller engagements on your way to larger deals.