U-G-L-Y, You Ain’t Got No Alibi – Your Pipeline’s Ugly!

Kevin Trokey on October 29, 2018

I hear benefit producers complain about fourth quarter all the time. They talk about how crazy it is, there are so many renewals to handle, there just isn’t enough time for everything.   

The complaints go on and on and all of a sudden they have themselves convinced that there isn’t time to get everything done, and something has to go. Unfortunately, they usually choose prospecting as the first thing to eliminate. Seems like a legitimate reason to avoid the task they hate most, right? 

Right action, wrong activity 

Yeah, fourth quarter is busy, I get that, but prospecting is about the last thing a producer should ignore. If you don’t maintain prospecting activity for the last three months of the year, you are digging a hole that will make a successful 2019 much harder than it needs to be.   

Prospecting momentum is hard enough to maintain, but to restart it after it comes to a complete stop makes the challenge exponentially harder.  

The most successful producers I know make prospecting a top priority. Sure, they may not be able to commit quite as much to it during 4th quarter as they do the rest of the year, but they block out time every week, if not every day, to stay on top of their prospecting efforts. 

On the other end of the spectrum are those struggling producers who only prospect when their pipeline is empty.  

Honestly, many don’t even prospect, they just wait for random opportunities to find them. It’s no surprise they never achieve consistent results and, most of the time, find themselves working on any accounts who will listen, which are often the wrong ones.

Make the 4th quarter more manageable and successful 

By understanding what needs to be eliminated and what needs full focus, not only will the quarter be more manageable, 2019 will be more successful. 

Do Not 

  • Get involved in routine service issues your team should be managing 
  • Spend time in carrier discussions about every renewal and every option unless absolutely necessary 
  • Allow yourself to be random about how you schedule your week 

DO… 

  • Maintain your focus to manage a hectic 4th quarter 
  • Hold yourself accountable for both quality and quantity of prospects in your pipeline 
  • Block out time every day (at least most days) for prospecting 
  • Identify your weekly “have tos” and dedicate time on your weekly calendar for their completion 
  • Plan for a successful, more manageable 2019  

I’ll argue that with proper discipline you do have time for everything you need to be doing - even in the 4th quarter. The key phrase is “need to be doing”.  The things that don’t fall in the “need” category are probably just busy work you shouldn’t be doing anyway.  

Discipline, it’s not just for 4th quarter anymore 

Really, these “do nots” and “dos” are rules you should follow all year long, but with the craziness of 4th quarter, you just don’t have a choice. And because your competition won’t find the discipline they need, and will let their prospecting efforts go, is exactly the reason that it is time for you to push your sales efforts harder than ever. 

Selling is a 4-quarter game. If the offense doesn’t take the field for all 4 quarters, it’s an impossible game to win. 

Overtime share 

To make the entire 2019 game as manageable as possible, you need a game plan. As crazy as it sounds, most producers have no plan in place to guide their activities. But you’re better than that. Download our 2019 Producer Annual Plan and use 4th quarter to plan for a successful 2019. 

You’ll make the competition look silly when they simply show up with the same pick-up-game plan they have been running out year after year. 

Photo Credit: Bowie15

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Topics: Selling + Process