Not too long after completing some mock emails and interviews as well as some live conversations, I realized I did not have a system to organize the leads into the sales funnels I was learning about in Mastering the Art of the Complex Sale by Jeff Thull.
One of the many pieces of advice Thull's book provided was to make five calls or outreaches via digital mediums per day/ twenty-five per week. Thull felt strongly if you did this each month, you’d have 100 lures in the water to land several big fish. He also suggested making a stoplight schedule. I had heard of the term in learning and assessment, but it was my first time applying the approach to potential business leads.
A stoplight schedule is a way to organize an approach or project management path to organize contacts and actions toward success.
You can see how we use the stoplight schedule in our work at Setser Group in the Project Management Check-Up above. For more information on how we leverage this tool, check out this video.
I went into my LinkedIn connections, other influencers, email, Facebook connections, etc., and made a list of "green" contacts who were likely to help me, coach me up over coffee, or connect me to opportunities in their network. Next, I made a list of "yellow" contacts that I may need introductions to but felt like they aligned with my purpose. Then I was honest with the phrase "red = dead.” These folks may not respond. They may not follow up with me, and that lack of response was okay. I was going to have to learn fast that rejection is a common occurrence in pitching because the data collected from rejections is gold.
Let me be clear: it often takes multiple conversations to make a connection on purpose. I did not let initial threads, email delays, or awkward conversations deter me from trying again. Most importantly, I shared those conversations back with "informal coaches" in my network who could further guide me on ways to have an even greater impact and connection to my purpose.
Things were improving on how I was approaching what was next, but that seed of doubt was also real. What if this does not work? What if I don’t learn how to do it? What about my wife? New house?
Speak what you want into existence.
Keep moving on the daily discipline to achieve it.