Frost Bite (Issue 505)

In which we consider how long to pursue cold prospects.

And so the snows came to Massachusetts this month… and this past week. 36” to date for the month. 14” last Thursday. For a guy who loves snow,  this is the best! Snow to shovel, snow to brush, snow to blow, each storm beautifying the winter landscape and providing a several hour long workout, head to toes.

And, speaking of toes… I’ll spare you the post-storm pictures. Red, swollen, v e r y painful. Frost-bite!  Or, more likely, frost-nip. Partially frozen, none the less.  How did this happen?

So, you commit yourself to clearing the snow…. All the snow…After working for an hour or so, you notice your toes are getting cold, but you’re nearly done blowing and shoveling, and then that takes longer than you thought, and now your toes are really cold and you notice that they ache a bit, and then it goes on just a little longer and then there’s just finishing off the front steps and, yeah, you’ve lost feeling in the toes on the right foot, but they’ll warm up quickly, and  … Voila!  Frost nipped. Partially frozen, the result of insufficiently protective footgear and staying in the cold too long.

We can get “frost nipped” when we’re prospecting, too, by working with cold prospects too long –,  trying one strategy, and then another, and then another, and then another, and… maybe just one more…. all to little or no effect, all nipping away at our precious time until it’s too late. Instead of freezing our toes, we’ve frozen ourselves out of other opportunities we might have pursued that would have warmed our sales pipelines.

Just as with toes, there are warning signs – like feeling frozen out or receiving a cold reception –  that, often, we choose to ignore because, we think, we’ll “get ‘em on the next try” or “I’m no wimp, I  am not giving up.”

Just as with toes and cold snow, there’s a judgment call with cold prospects.  When working with snow, from time to time, noses and “toe-ses” get cold. It’s part of the drill. The trick is to set limits and stick to them, to maintain a balanced perspective through which you recognize, “clearing the last three feet of snow is not worth losing three toes on feet.”

Some people are able to maintain that balance. They get to walk without pain the day after.  Others of us, perhaps too goal directed or foolishly stubborn, turn red, swell up, and promise ourselves that, when we run into future cold storms or cold prospects, we’ll move to warmth earlier.

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