Egg Metaphors – Understanding Pipeline Management

There are many good egg metaphors that apply to sales such as Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, and of course, there’s the one about Killing the goose that laid the golden egg.  Anyone one who owns a virtual tour business or any business for that matter needs to remember these important concepts.

At our hotel photography company, we specialize in photographing virtual tours for hotels, healthcare, hospitality and education.  We have many eggs in many baskets!!  This month, we were on track in March to have our biggest month of income ever.  We are working with two beach vacation rental companies, several small businesses and we were scheduled to shoot three behavioral health programs.  We are used to traveling thousands of miles per month to shoot virtual tours all over the country but all of these were within a short distance from our home in Charleston. I was looking forward to a relaxed month for once!

It’s hard to stay motivated when I am looking at a full pipeline.  There is the temptation to relax and think I’ve earned a break once I get the pipeline looking good.  I have trained and supervised hundreds of sales people and I know that I am not alone in this tendency. I understand sales metrics such as closing ratios and a pipeline of projected business. I know that I have to make a certain number of calls to book a certain number of 360 tours.  I also understand that a certain percentage of the virtual tours I book will cancel or reschedule for a variety of reasons.  This is why it is of the utmost importance to have a very full pipeline and to have a variety of streams of income and NOT to slow down once the pipeline looks full!  Or to use an egg metaphor – I know better than to count my chickens before they hatch.

The day we showed up to do our walk through for the first hospital virtual tour, we found out that both the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Executive Director had just resigned!  Screeeeeeech to a halt on any new expenditures or projects – including our virtual tours.  This is not the first time it’s happened to us – we were 5,000 miles into a 10,000 mile trip for a large hospital chain when the VP of Internet Marketing was let go with no notice and the CEO of that chain was let go shortly after that. 

Luckily on the 10,000 mile trip we had been paid in advance and the hospitals were only 12 of the 53 tours we shot and this month, we have a full month of income even without the three programs.  I will admit though that I have slacked off this month because I knew we had a big check on the way.  I have seen other virtual tour photographers have one real estate office as their main source of business…until that office found another source for their virtual tours and the photographer’s virtual tour business dried up overnight!  Not knowing the circumstances, I can’t say that the photographer killed the goose that laid the golden egg but I’ve seen people raise their prices too high or take their best virtual tour customers for granted and in an instant, lose a huge portion of their virtual tour income.

I wish I didn’t have to constantly juggle cold calls, blogging, following up with existing customers and helping Greg shoot his interactive virtual tours.  But even as I write that, I realize how silly that statement is.  Juggling those things IS MY JOB.  It would be like Greg wishing he didn’t have to always shoot virtual tours, build them and send out virtual tour invoices.  We own a virtual tour business — that means we sell HD Virtual Tours then we shoot tours then we sell some more tours.  It doesn’t matter which came first, the chicken or the egg — without one there would not be the other.  No matter how many referrals we get or how much repeat virtual tour business we get, renewing the pipeline is part of the process no matter how full your future looks!