Why & Why-Not to List Your Targets

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The Benefits of a Target List

If time is the most precious asset we have, deciding how best to use your time is the essential life skill.

In business development, you need to decide who you want to spend your time with.  Creating a Target List allows you to decide who to reach out to.  The alternative is to allow circumstance to guide you — someone pops into your mind, you bump into someone at an event, etc.  This random approach can work well enough sometimes, but it’s insignificant to that advantages of a focused effort — taking the time to think, “who do I want to reach?”

This may seem obvious, and yet the majority of folks don’t have a written list.  Alternatively, some people respond that they do have a Target List — their existing clients, those they can offer additional services to.  And again, this can work and they should be considered when thinking about your targets, but a good Target List considers “unattended targets,” those people and organizations you’re not already talking with.


Obstacles to a Target List

You may not already have an effective mechanism for thinking of the names of people.  A good contact database (or CRM) can go a long way in helping you organize and review your contacts who would become prospects.

Often people don’t appreciate what a difference it makes to write it down.  As an example, I once had a former state supreme court justice as a client.  I suggested he write out a Target List and he replied that he didn’t need one.  So I asked him to give me the names of the targets he had in his head.  A few months later I asked him this same question and the names he gave me were entirely different.  He was shocked, sure that he would remember who he was targeting.

But Targets do change as people change goals, add products and services, etc.  Yes, but a Target List, written out, allows you to make conscious decisions — who to add or take off and why as your business changes.


Tips for Target Lists

Write out your Targets.

And try BizDevCoach.com.  One of its features, once you’ve listed your targets, is the ability to drag and drop to re-order them.  This may seem innocuous, but it’s not.  Taking just a moment to remind yourself what’s important, accepting responsibility for the next step, is the small action which triggers the incubation process enabling you to come up with new innovations to your business development.