private_equityThe valuation of a company rarely, if ever, takes into account ‘prospect equity’. Prospect equity is the value of top-of-mind awareness and relationship depth companies have cultivated with their prospects.

The equity earned from a prospect introduction that does not generate an immediate sale is all too often discarded by most companies. Instead of leveraging that equity by deepening the relationship, impatient companies move on to new prospects. Using farming as our metaphor … imagine a farmer planting seeds in the ground then ignoring those seeds because they do not immediately germinate and produce a harvestable crop. Wise farmers know that every nurturing step from planting, watering and fertilizing to weeding, insect control and well timed harvests build crop equity. The more diligent the farmer the higher is crop equity and ultimately the higher his harvest yield. Growing sales through building prospect equity is amazingly similar and rewarding.

This year instead of ignoring the prospects that do not immediately turn into harvestable sales, tend them, nurture them, manage them by regularly staying in touch … staying top-of-mind … gradually building equity with each prospect. I recommend employing a combination of awareness building steps; a phone call even if it is a voice-mail message, mailings of promotion literature by regular mail, a postcard greeting, a personal handwritten note, a LinkedIn touch. Be careful not to overdo it. Touch your prospects no more than once a quarter, gradually building recognition and trust equity.

Patience is a virtue that eventually turns languishing prospects into a harvest of valuable, long-term customers.