Suspect vs. Prospect…Bull pens…

Suspect vs. Prospect…And the difference


While it’s certainly fine to drop in in on a new prospect with zero preparation, a little intelligence gathering before that step sure can’t hurt. Indeed, it can tell us if that suspect is actually a valid prospect, or perhaps even an opportunity best avoided.


Taking a few minutes to see if they have a website, checking on Yelp and other social media platforms can yield a lot of useful information that can increase our chance of success and maybe even provide a seed of an idea for a winning opening comment.


Aside from those twenty-first century tools we have a few old school approaches at our disposal. The allied vendors we encounter at the local restaurant association meetings are one. Then there’s the drive-by at lunch and or dinner time to peek at the full, or not so packed, parking lot as a measure of how business is doing.


Dropping in for a totally non-business visit to eat can be especially educational. Seeing firsthand the condition of the china and glassware … whether or not plates and silver are arriving still damp and observing the lack (or thoroughness) of the bussing operation are all things that we can use in our call preparation.


No matter which or how many of these we employ, the more we can know about that prospect, the more effective our sales attempt.


Bull pens…Not just baseball


Last time out we addressed the surprise resignation of that key associate and the criticality of selecting a candidate who could best fill that unexpected vacancy. What we didn’t address was the need (and how) to be prepared for that unpleasant surprise.


The only way to avoid being completely blindsided by a surprise loss is to assume that it may happen and then be prepared with some possible replacement candidates. That of course means having a list of folks who can be promoted from within, or a bull pen with possible candidates who can be hired from the outside.

And most importantly having that pool of candidates, means not having to start from scratch.


But a bull pen isn’t something only of value in dealing with an unexpected departure. Having that list of potential hires can also pave the way for the smooth replacement of a weak link on the team.  And it can be beneficial on the upside. When you finally decide to pull the trigger on adding that new territory, having a list of possible candidates for it allows that decision to be made on much more solid footing.