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Recently, I was talking to a group about prospecting. I wanted to create a way they could visualize the importance of ALWAYS prospecting.

They had reasonably good pipelines, most were consumed on working those deals. As you might guess, most were doing everything they could to avoid prospecting. They were using their pipelines and the work they were doing to close those deals as excuses not to prospect.

Their sales cycle was roughly 6 months away. Somehow, they kept rationalizing, “I’m busy now, I’ll worry about filling my pipeline in a few months.

I presented all sort of data around, the number of prospects they had to meet with to qualify a sufficient number of deals to add to their pipeline, the amount of time that would take, and so on. While, intellectually, they “got” what I was saying, none of them were internalizing the urgency around needing to continually prospect, despite having healthy pipelines.

I shifted gears, I asked them to visualize their pipeline in front of them, at the end of the pipeline was a cliff. I said, “Imagine you are running toward the edge of that cliff at 200 MPH. What are you going to do to prevent you from running off the edge?”

When we are working our pipelines, we are running to a cliff. We eventually reach the edge of the cliff and plummet into an abyss. That cliff is always there. Depending on our sales cycles, we run off the edge 90, 180, 360 days out.

We can’t wait to backfill our pipelines. There’s no magic, but we just run off the edge of the cliff if we aren’t prospecting. If we have a 90 day sales cycle, and we wait 60 days to start prospecting. Even if we are able to fill our pipelines in one day, we run off the edge of the cliff!

The trick is, how do we keep pushing out the edge of that cliff?

The only way is to integrate prospecting into your daily routines. Regardless how healthy your pipeline is, the cliff is there. Regardless how busy we are working deals in our pipeline, the cliff is there–and the edge gets closer every day.

But prospecting every day causes you to keep pushing the edge of the cliff out.

In our company, each of us vividly sees the edge of that cliff. We’re busy every day selling and delivering. But however busy we are, we see the edge of that cliff looming in front of us. We know the only way we push the edge out is to prospect every day. We don’t know which of the people we reach out to may have a need (though we are highly targeted), but we know if we don’t reach out, we run off the cliff.

Are you running off the edge of your cliff at 200 mph?