A Rainmaker's Vacation
This message is coming to you from the sunny Bahamas. Jennifer and I decided to take a last-minute vacation. I’m glad we did! We got a seat sale on Air Canada and booked a cottage on the beach through Airbnb.
Do you have a vacation planned this summer? Where are you going?
For entrepreneurs and sales professionals, booking a last-minute vacation can often feel like a daunting—or even impossible—task. There is always business to close, a client to serve, or a new product to launch. A vacation today will surely mean lost revenue in the future.
I once had a boss who thought it was a badge of honor to never take a vacation. When I peeled back the layers of his life in my mind all I could see was something shallow. It was sad, actually. Have you ever worked with someone like that?
The best thing we can do, as rainmakers for our companies, is to maintain a pipeline. A pipeline will give us the peace of mind to take vacations.
What is a pipeline? The definition has become complicated over the past few years by the invention and adoption of CRM software, but a pipeline is simply a tracking mechanism to show which stage each of our prospective customers is at on the continuum toward becoming a new customer. In theory, the pipeline is shaped like a funnel in which fewer and fewer prospects are at each stage, as either you decide they are not your ideal customers or they decide you do not offer them a solution that meets their needs.
The key to creating a sales pipeline is having the proper mind-set. As twenty-first-century entrepreneurs and sales professionals, we are not at the top of the funnel. We are not compacting the funnel and pushing our prospects toward the close. Instead, we are simply navigating our prospects toward a buying decision and educating them each step along the way.
We are not compacters. We are facilitators. The funnel facilitator will be far more effective at selling in today’s marketplace.
How does all of this relate to taking a vacation?
By maintaining a healthy pipeline when you are working, you will be able to take a high-level view to figuring out where each of your prospects are and what actions you should take in the days leading up to a vacation.
Need more prospects in the top of your funnel? Call your top clients and ask who they know who could benefit from your service. Create an inbound marketing campaign that will generate leads that will be waiting for you when you return from vacation.
Need to validate new entrants into your pipeline? Commit to making ten calls to prospects to learn more about their needs before you go on vacation. Send emails to fifteen new prospects asking them questions about their business before you leave. Be sure to indicate that you are going on vacation, specify the dates you will be gone, and promise to respond when you return.
Need to educate validated prospects? Commit to making five presentations before you leave. Make sure to send your slide deck to the prospects as follow up.
The key point is that, by maintaining consistency in your activity while you are working and then setting up some specific action steps in the days leading up to your vacation, you will be able to take that vacation with the peace of mind that business will not stop while you are gone.
What is your mind-set around taking a vacation? Do you feel peace of mind when you go? Your mind-set is a good indicator about how you are running your business.