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Pipeline!? What's a Pipeline?

I'm amazed again. I talked with a sales client the other day and asked him about his pipeline. He looked at me like I had three eyes. He had no idea what I was talking about.

Now, I've had others do this before. Yet it still takes me a moment to recover from the shock when a sales professional, with much success, tells me they don't know what I'm talking about.

When it does occur, I usually start by asking them to go thru their sales and delivery process. What usually happens is a description of a pipeline of activities which brings about "Revenue Stream"- which is the whole idea regarding the pipeline.

To give you the idea behind pipeline activities here are some that are used in different industries...

1) Find Them, Grind Them, Bind Them and Mind Them
2) Book, Sell, Book and Recruit.
3) Find Them, Develop Them, Close Them, Deliver Them and Maintain Them

They all describe processes that a person or group goes thru to bring about income streams and hopefully, satisfied clients (and business professionals).

My favorite is #3 and I use it to evaluate the sales and business process for my clients. The interesting thing here is that you too can create an evaluative matrix and start to answer questions regarding all these stages. Things concerning 1) Rating your process on it's relative strengths and weaknesses in these areas, 2) How much time per month is spent in these areas, 3) What areas could be automated, 4) What areas are needing a greater focus and so on.

As you do, you may see areas where too much time and energy are being spent or maybe just the opposite. Perhaps even areas where you can focus to improve the quality of what is coming in overall. I've had some clients restructure their entire pipeline activities because they were not spending enough time creating the flow in the pipeline to begin with.

This happen recently with a client. They discovered that they were spending too much time delivering the product and service and not enough time finding, developing and closing - the three activities that keep the flow of dollars rich (no pun intended). Remember: If you don't spend enough time in these three areas, the flow of dollars dry up. Particularly if you are spending all your time servicing the client base that already exists. Think about the following bumper sticker, "Attrition Happens!"

Over the next few weeks I'll be spending more time on the different areas. The focus of each will be things to consider in evaluating your pipeline to bring about the richest flow possible for your own endeavors.

What's in it for you? Smoother and richer flow, more revenue generation, and less stress. If this is attractive enough for your tastes, catch up with us next week.


Coach John S. Nagy is CEO and Lead Business Coach for Coaching for Success. Inc. assisting upper level business professionals in working on their businesses, not just in it. He's a published author and a multi degreed professional with a nationwide client base. Coach Nagy can be reached through his E-mail address and his website is located at www.coach.net.

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