Building A Personal Pipeline

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Building A Personal Pipeline

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Relationships are the lifeblood of success in sales, which is why many sales professionals do everything they can to establish relationships with their prospects.

A trusting relationship is a great thing to have with a prospect, but it’s tough to create relationships with everyone in our pipeline. That means most salespeople only have a few prospects and customers they really connect with.

The highest-performing salespeople seem to operate differently, though. If you listen in on their calls and meetings, they seem to have a relationship with everyone they speak with. While some would attribute that to their length of time in the industry, we know better.

Without knowing it, they’ve built a pipeline of folks they have a personal relationship with. So how do we replicate that without waiting decades?

To learn how, we sat down with Michael Lange, VP of Sales and Operations with Ferrara Logistics Services, and a former Navy Seabee. In our conversation, Michael shared invaluable insights into systemizing how we leverage our personal network to fuel pipeline growth.

Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.

T-Trigger: Michael says to trigger this system each week by reviewing your upcoming meetings and appointments. Don’t limit yourself to just your professional appointments or sales calls – be sure to include any appointment where you will interact with folks who have networks of their own. These will be opportunities to begin, grow and expand your personal network or potential leads.

The second step of this trigger is to examine the leads you’re scheduled to reach out to this coming week as well. Whether those leads came to you through inbound marketing, research, or from network introductions, Michael advocates sharing the leads with your team to ensure they’re of the right quality to include in your outreach time.

R-Repeatable: To make this system repeatable, Michael says to start with newly acquired customers and ask about who they’re doing business with. Chances are that those suppliers and vendors are doing business with companies that look like your new customer and these folks can be great sources of new leads for your pipeline.

Second, ensure you’re cultivating your own professional network. Michael says it’s a good idea to reach out to past employers and employees you’re on good terms with to stay up to date on where they’re working, and who they’re doing business with. Often, our past network can be a gold mine for future business.

Third, ensure you’re face-to-face with your personal network as much as possible. Whether that’s through in-person networking events or through virtual platforms, getting facetime with your personal network is the best way to stay top-of-mind and deepen relationships.

Finally, ensure you’re striking up conversations with everyone in your local community who might be a prospect or potentially know one. This means not sitting back at the kid’s sports practice or being a fly on the wall at the church social. Instead, learn about the network of the folks you’re speaking with and make a note to follow up with any potential prospects in the network of folks you already have a personal connection with.

I-Improvable: To prevent the process from becoming stagnant, Michael recommends examining the conversations you’re generating and making a note of your next follow-up task and what value you intend on adding to them. This is where an external platform like a CRM becomes invaluable because it allows us to capture all these notes and follow-up tasks outside our heads.

Another way to improve how we build a pipeline of personal relationships is to engage our sales leaders. Invite them to come along with you on your sales calls, not just to help you close a deal, but to expand the network of relationships you’re making available to your prospects.

M-Measurable: To measure the success of this system, Michael says to define the leading indicators of success prior to the sale. For his industry, it’s the number of quotes generated. He says to track the source of the prospects that make it that far in your pipeline. By measuring where they’re coming from, you can refine the types of folks you’re connecting with in your local network to ensure you’re packing your pipeline; not only with great prospects, but with folks you already have a connection to.

Building a network of personal connections can indeed do wonder for our pipelines!

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