This brief article is about that all-important tool: THE LIST. Most of us, when we get started, make a list of people we want to contact and share our business with. The list should be a work-in-progress in several ways. Let me explain. First, make your list without any mental editing – I know, it’s almost impossible, but just do it as an exercise – you do get permission to edit later!
Your list is something you want to be continually adding to over time. You want to keep it with you, as you get into the mindset of building your business, people will pop into to your mind as you go through the day. Writing them down is essential. It’s a valuable resource and you must keep track of it!
Make your list as far-reaching as you possibly can. Go through your personal phone book, your cell phone, your rolodex, your email list, your kid’s school directory, the directory of any organizations you belong to – all of it. There is no one over the age of 21 that can’t come up with a list of 100 people. These days, it’s probably anyone over the age of 10 (!).
Use the Yellow Pages of a phone book as a memory jogger – there’s an alphabetical list in the beginning of the Yellows – go through and really think (AND WRITE DOWN!) who you know that’s an accountant, or a barber, or a chiropractor or a dentist or dog groomer. Write them down, and they’ll lead you to think of others. You’ll think of a dog groomer and that’ll remind you of a dog you once had and how at that time you were friends with Sheila whose brother used to be a friends with some people you knew and he was always so outgoing, what’s he up to these days? You get the idea – it’s a really worthwhile exercise. WRITE THEM ALL DOWN. You won’t be calling them all, but it’s an important part of the process.
You’re not going to contact everyone, but it starts to help you see how many people you do know, and what the potential is for talking to people who are ‘warm’ or ‘lukewarm’. And it will be invaluable later when you get to the referral part of your business.
I encourage you to set aside time to really do this properly – think of it like you would inventory in a retail store – it’s the main asset you have to work with – at first. So, spend the time to do it thoroughly, at least on your first run through. Take a quiet hour away from everything going on and really concentrate with all your resources (for names) on the table in front of you.
Once you have the list built, you’re going to do a skills assessment on the people on your list on a scale of 1-10 in different categories. 1 being the lowest score and 10 being the highest – grade them on the following:
Are they well regarded in the community or in their profession?
Are they successful?
Do they have a good attitude?
Are they focused?
Is this person a get-things-done type?
Are they friendly? Easygoing?
Do you like them?
Would you enjoy working with them?
And, if you don’t like someone, rate them, but know you never have to contact them. The good news in this business is you get to choose, so you don’t have to bother with someone you’d rather not spend any time with.
Score each person for each question and then total the score for each person. The 12 people with the highest score are your best prospects. Take the next 10, and those are who you want to start with. You don’t want to cut your teeth on your very best prospects, unless you’re experienced and feeling bullet proof. But this is ONLY TRUE if you are committed to calling all 22 – the top twelve and the next 10. If you’re only going to ever call 5, you better make them the best 5 you have a way to reach.
Make a commitment to work through your list as quickly as you can, it will help you build momentum and you’ll have some successes which will motivate you. You can call 20 people in a day, or you can stretch it out over a month. The faster you’re able to do it, the more likely you are to get it done, procrastination is the biggest killer of forward movement. So be proactive and make it happen – the potential rewards are SO well worth it.