Irrigation (Issue 617)

In which we are reminded to drip feed our inactive prospects routinely.

Last Saturday was “Opening Day” at our house near Boston  – spring grass and garden opening day, to be specific.  Not as green or grand as Fenway Park Opening Day… and Opening Day, nevertheless. We removed deer netting from rhododendrons, cleared leaves from bushes, raked grass where needed, spread lime and fertilizer, etc. etc. etc.

Within a few weeks,  as daytime temperatures rise, we’ll clear and test the drip irrigation hoses that distribute water on a programmed schedule to the driveway wild flower beds, the major bushes in front of the house, the juniper bushes to the side, and the vegetable garden at the top of the hill.

We found, after our first growing season in the house, that hand watering the junipers and a wide array of wild flowers (they get full afternoon sun and they’re particularly sensitive) was a fool’s errand.  There are so many, we couldn’t take the time for individualized attention to each of them and, we discovered, they didn’t need individual attention, they just needed attention. Thus, the timers and hoses so we could be confident that the wild flowers would be watered and healthy.

Same thing with “wild flowers” we meet at events or meetings.  We capture their names in Outlook or SalesForce or what-have-you.  We triage them, as best we can, into categories, e.g. “referral source,” “immediate prospect,” and “contact.”

We spring into action with the “referral sources” and “immediate prospects.”  Typically, there are a few of them and we can tend to them individually.

The challenge is, what do we do with the several dozen or several hundred “contacts” we meet and accumulate.

And the answer is: Programmed drip irrigation!

At our house, we went simple. We learned  by experience to program  “all flowers, every couple of days” drip irrigation during the hottest part of the summer.

In our sales world,  irrigation programs can be simple (“every ‘contact’ in the data base gets the Quarterly Business Review every three months”) or complex (“surgical practices with less than 7 docs receive  the Business Review quarterly, a health care law update every six months….” etc.) based on the extent to which we segment our contacts (by size, industry, growth rates, etc.), the sophistication of our contact management software,  and our time or the support we get from others to maintain the data base, trigger the communications, and so on.

At minimum, we recommend irrigating every “wild flower” contact  to which we’re not paying individualized attention at least quarterly. They may not need individual attention. They just need attention.

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