I once worked with a sales agent who was puzzled because he had 12 prospective clients but no significant sales. As we went into more detail, it quickly became apparent why Bob was so frustrated.

He actually had only 2 prospects. The other 10 wouldn’t be considered anything other than plain ol’ contacts.

If you liken a progressing sales conversation to the ball game of catch, you will see what I mean.

Someone is only a prospect if they throw the ball back to you.

You make a contact with Jane. Essentially, you toss her a ball. If she’s not interested, she will simply let the ball drop to the ground. If she IS interested, but not right now, she’ll keep the ball. BUT, if she throws that ball back to you – in other words, if she agrees to take a next step – she is playing catch.

Bob only had 2 people who were actually playing catch with him. For the other 10, Bob had spent considerable time and energy chasing them around but none of them were playing ball because they hadn’t agreed to take any action step of their own.

By the way, reviewing a proposal is NOT part of playing ball. In fact, I do not send out an information sheet, proposal, strategy document or one of my white papers until I have a confirmed agreed next action, such as a meeting scheduled to review what has been sent.

Action – Review your list of so-called prospective clients. How many are REALLY playing catch with you?

You will probably find that percentage to be low, but if you spend 80% of your time developing the 20% who ARE playing ball, instead of vice versa, you’ll reap great rewards!

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