I was cleaning out the garage the other day when I found a mystery box. You know, that duct taped cardboard box that is so important that you’ve moved with it 6 times in the last 15 years. So important that you’ve NOT opened it in 15 years, and you have no idea what’s in it. Yet if you open it, it feels like Christmas morning because you rediscover a bunch of stuff you own.

Stuff that is so important that you have not used or missed it in 15 years. Sound familiar?

As a country on average, we live in about three times the amount of physical space compared to the 1970’s. Yet at last count, personal storage is a $22 Billion industry. One of the most consistent growth industries in the last 10 years.

Some would say we buy too much. I would say we have trouble letting things go.

My family and I lived most of 2019 in 850 sq ft while our house was being rebuilt from Hurricane Michael. During that time, close to 75% of my belongings were packed and stored in a 20ft metal container. Over the course of that year, I replaced maybe 10% of things. I really didn’t miss most of the things that we stored.

Like I said, we have trouble letting things go.

It is already mid January, and depending on what that evil Groundhog says in a few weeks, Spring might be right around the corner.
Time for a spring cleaning…..of your leads and prospects.
In the same way people hoard things they never use, salespeople tend to hoard leads and accounts that will never close. We keep things in our pipeline because we like the idea of having them, not because they might actually become useful (ie buy from us).

“I can’t give up on this account,” You’ll tell yourself, “Because there is a chance it might close.”

Pretty soon, you find your lead list starts to look like an episode of hoarders. Things that look like garbage to others stack up everywhere in piles of unlabeled and duct taped cardboard boxes.

Review your account list, specifically the ones you sent a proposal to over 30 days ago, and the ones in the pipeline that have had no activity in 30 days.

– Has something changed?

– What was the last communication with them like?

– Do they still have the issues/obstacles you were trying to fix?

– Who’s court is the ball in? (Did you reach out last? Did they?)

If you don’t have good answers to those questions, then it is time to admit that these are dead leads and purge them from the list. That doesn’t mean you don’t ever call on them again. That does not mean you write them off as a potential client. It does mean that they are no longer “in the pipeline”. They’ve gone back to cold.

You may find a few treasures in this process. Opportunities that have matured nicely since you last saw them. I found a few things in that box that I did miss, and will use regularly.

“Might do business with us one day” is not a pipeline account. That status can be assigned to a whole bunch of leads that you have never talked to.  Purge the list and get your focus on the stuff that can close, and one prospecting new stuff.

Otherwise, you’re that Jim Carrey character from Dumb and Dumber.