How’s business? If there’s a disparity between your income goals and your current financial situation, it would appear that you have a performance-gap issue.  

That’s right. It’s time evaluate your processes. Recheck everything.

In most cases, a performance gap issue arises from three factors: An unfilled pipeline with ineffective prospecting and follow up. Solutions for the three indicators require discipline. 

For many professionals, networking efforts aren’t sufficient, and so prospecting must play a bigger role. 

That’s affirmative. How else will you fill your prospect pipeline? 

First steps to zero out the performance gap 

You must have something to offer clients. A personal development plan is vital, including a curious mind and a continual search for answers to problems.

Moreover, you need a strategic vision plan. 

You must be sure you have laid the groundwork to enable you to build trust with clients.

Instead of worrying about sales results, focus on becoming a value creator. Be prepared to provide innovative ideas and exemplary client service. 

Once you’re ready to proceed, focus on your prospecting footwork. To zero out the performance gap, become more efficient. 

Review your sales approach. Merely having a gregarious personality doesn’t count. Suffice to say the best-selling consultants have 18 attributes. 

They know the five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy, they know how to overcome sales objections, and they know how to close sales by following a professional sales process. 

Generate a suitable number of leads. Seventy-five to 100 is an excellent starting point. Contact 15 per day and disqualify the companies that aren’t suitable for you. Replace the disqualified leads to keep your pipeline full, and start your sales process. 

Business-development follow-up

Once the business development process starts, the lack of follow up causes failure. Despite great marketing and targeting prospective clients, many professionals morph into oxymorons because they fail to follow up.

Professionals follow up consistently with respect to build an ongoing relationship with an attitude of service and gratitude. They follow up with people who can authorize signing of a check – whether it’s prospects they meet at events or with people who inquire about their services.

They follow up on a regular basis depending on how they prioritize prospects. Priority A prospects are contacted each week. Priorities B and C are contacted every two to four weeks or in a longer duration.

The priority is determined by the size of the company, their needs that need to be filled and their importance to you.

“Dress how you want to be addressed.”

-Bianca Frazier

Savvy professionals use a myriad of follow up approaches – event invitations, a note with a relevant article, telephone, e-mailing newsletters, and the best-of-all approaches – an in-person visit.

Along the way, it’s important to ask open-ended questions, listen intently, provide value and have something relevant to say.

Personal example

My first client relationship in the 1980s evolved after weeks of meetings for coffee chats – and listening to the executive’s challenges whom I knew from a previous broadcasting employer. There was a myriad of marketing and management issues.

My only motive was for something productive to do as I was looking for opportunities, but had no idea the coffee chats would lead to a client after I provided helpful advice. After returning one morning from a six-mile run, I found a message on my telephone answering machine inviting me to solve the challenges.

After you create a business relationship: Never create the impression that you’re indifferent – by only to contacting the client when you want to sell something.

Professionals keep records. You can use a CRM system or a simple spreadsheet to track your calls and to check it each week to set up your call list each week.

The moral: Do the right things for yourself and in building relationships, and you’ll avert the performance gap.

From the Coach’s Corner, more consultant tips:

Profits: Size Doesn’t Matter but Image, Professionalism Count – Appearances and professionalism can make your small business seem huge. If you look as though you’re substantial and that you can handle anything thrown your way – your odds for success improve dramatically. That’s especially true in this economy. 

Tips for Building Long-Term Client Relationships with Effective Meetings – How are you faring with your clients? Not sure? To be certain you’re doing well, you must ask yourself three key questions. 

Consultants – Helping Clients Deal with an Emotional Crisis – No matter what kind of a consulting practice you have, it’s sometimes necessary to help clients deal emotionally with a business crisis. If you’re a management consultant and you’ve branded yourself well, the clients see you as a trusted confidante and visionary. 

Valuable Secrets for Profitable Deal-Making with Clients – If you’re in professional services or consulting, many times you’ve heard the phrase: “Give me a proposal.” 

“Dress how you want to be addressed.”

-Bianca Frazier


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.