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Managing Prospects through a Circle Strategy

Whether you’re a cause or a company, employing a circle strategy in which you plot your prospects on a target and move from your strongest leads in the bull’s-eye to the weakest ones in the outer circles will help you focus on your best prospects first.

A target will help you plot your best relationships and opportunities. The following illustration shows what a circle strategy looks like with three concentric circles.

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  • The innermost circle of the target (the bull’s-eye!) is where your closest relationships lie. These causes and companies are the people you know and with whom you already have a relationship. They’re like friends: familiar, committed, and trustworthy. If you had the choice between working with a stranger and working with a friend, whom would you choose? Go first where you are known and loved!

  • The second outer circle represents familiar but more distant connections. For a cause, this connection may be a business that is aware of your work but has never supported you. If you’re a business, causes introduced to you by customers, friends, and employees are what apply. While they don’t have a direct connection with you, their mission or link to someone you do know has earned your attention.

    The outermost circle includes companies and causes that are unknown to you and you to them. The last circle is like the edge of a solar system, as these distant objects are not the hot leads of the two inner circles. But they’re also not planets stuck in a fixed orbit. Today’s distant orb can be tomorrow’s red-hot prospect.

As you can see, you can have success within each circle, but it won't happen all at once. It begins with the inner circle, which starts a ripple. Success in the inner circle will create opportunity at the second circle as you approach existing contacts with creative and proven ideas.

Activity in the second circle leads to success as prospects begin to learn about your successes and respond to your calls to work together. This ultimately will feed the inner circle as your new friends and supporters that start the process anew.

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