Who is on your Top 50 list?

Several years ago Success Magazine published a series of interviews designed to give the small business owner or entrepreneur insights from the experts.

One of the mentors selected was Tory Johnson of Women for Hire, Spark & Hustle, The Shift and most recently, Deals and Steals.

Tory is someone I have admired for her practiced resiliency and, dare I say it? Her spark and hustle!

In the interview, Tory shared that she maintained a list at all times of her top 50 prospects and she worked that list with relentless focus. Once you were on the list, you could be certain that you were going to be hearing from Tory. And if you were smart, you’d be doing business with her. She encouraged all business owners to have their own list and to leverage the list to keep on task for growing the business. Sound and savvy advice.

Beyond the obvious, there were lessons from that interview and list discussion that have stayed with me.

Lesson #1 – A list helps create focus and action!

First was that the power in leveraging an actual list. Beyond just recording an intention, it becomes a playbook. When we remove the decision point from the action plan we allow ourselves to move fluidly. If there is a list of 50 names, if someone isn’t available, that’s fine. There are many other names left to go. And when you run out, you go back to the top. What is on your to do list can go from “make sales calls” to “contact people on my prospect list and make 10 appointments”. The more specific the task, the easier it is to do. You don’t worry about how many you call because your task is 10 appointments. You don’t worry about who to call next, that’s already laid out for you.

Lesson #2 – Begin where you are with what you have and keep moving!

The second lesson is that our top 50 list can start as a top 10 list. We don’t have to have 50 to begin. We can start with 5. The key is to grow the list to the point that you are always equipped to connect. And to keep it fresh based on moving people to the top customer list or top collaborator list and so on. It really is about relationship management across the board. We should always be working toward an active top 50 prospect list at the conversation level.

Lesson #3 – All things being equal – well they aren’t! But it still works!

The third lesson is that prospect can mean different things to different people and businesses. Your prospects may be potential partners or resources vs. actual prospects you might sell to. This was an important distinction for me as a life coach and strategist. My early prospects were not people I would want to coach. They were influencers and mentors, people that could be invaluable to me as I was building my business. What was interesting to me was that some of those that seemed out of reach initially were in fact very approachable. Engaging them on social media, enrolling in courses, attending events and promoting their work all led to productive partnerships. Even now, my prospect contact list focuses on partners vs. clients. By leveraging those relationships, we both are able to serve broader audiences and help more people.

My own lists have come into more focus for me as I’m working on my next book that will be launching later this year that spotlights the topic of resilience. When we consider the power of resilience, relationship building and management is one of the core skills promoting its essence. In fact, together with strategic learning practices, it is the foundation.

Live (list!) today like you want tomorrow to be. Live (list!) well.

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