We’ve hit mid-September and the freight train that is back-to-school season here in the US has tapped its brakes. If your prospecting efforts are starting to produce lower returns, you might be wondering if this is a good time to prospect, or if you should spend your time on other activities. Fair question. B2E is a seasonal business in the sense that all school systems have a strongly defined buying cycle. The highest tide, when educators are furiously hurrying to be ready for their students to start classes, has just ebbed. Should you lie low so as to not wear out your good graces with prospects that are too busy to be bothered with a new product opportunity right now?
You can answer this question for yourself if you’re a student of Little League Baseball. If you’ve sat through as many of these games as I have, you’ll know they are high scoring affairs. Up until about junior high, kids’ fielding skills are so poor that batters have quite an advantage. Easy pop-ups can get dropped. The puttering grounder straight to the second baseman can get overthrown into the stands. The odd “dropped third strike” rule occasionally results in a fast-thinking player getting on base. When my sons were this age we constantly told them that because anything can happen you always have a chance, so run hard to first. No. Matter. What. When inevitably, they won a few of those “comedy of errors” footraces we’d say, “This is why we hustle.” Those words became a mantra around our house, fitting an amazing number of life situations where extra effort changes the odds in your favor.
I said it out loud to myself while sitting at my desk on the Friday before Labor Day. I have a prospecting system that I’m very dedicated to, but I was thinking that I might be foolish to work my system that particular day, the Friday of the first week of school, the last day of a hectic “popsicle season” and one when everyone’s head would be more likely focused on their plans for the long weekend. Even if someone would bother to read my email or listen to my voicemail, they’d set it aside until Tuesday at best and by then, it would be long forgotten. Pointless to prospect, right?
Despite believing my efforts were going to go to waste, I decided to move ahead with my normal outbound routine. Dozens of contacts in I was thinking how futile the exercise was. And then it happened. I got a great call back. It wasn’t a huge fish, but a school admin in a large district in an important area for me. He had all kinds of time to talk and said it was so fortunate that I had emailed him that morning because he was prepping for a staff meeting Tuesday on this particular topic. He got a web demo on the spot, pricing, and a trial code. This is why we hustle.
Was it a great day for prospecting? No. We definitely have our key buying seasons, and certain weeks and months are going to have a higher yield on prospecting than others. But there are only so many “ideal days,” and only so many “ideal times” on ideal days. You can choose to restrict your prospecting to these unicorn hours or you can decide to run hard to first all the time. If your sales goal is one that is going to take a little luck to achieve, remember as every coach says, you make your own luck when you hustle.
The best time to prospect is “all” the time.