The movie "Glengarry Glen Ross" has, possibly, the best ensemble cast of all time. Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin and Ed Harris all turn in incredible performances in a film about an office of high pressure real estate salesmen/sleazeballs who try to trick regular people into buying worthless property. It's worth watching, especially if you're in sales, because you will feel SO much better about your job and yourself as a person. It's like Death of a Salesman with a LOT more cursing.

In the movie, these salesmen are each given two leads every night and sent out to go on "a sit" where they try to convince the customers to sign on the line by any means necessary. But the leads are bad. They're terrible, old leads - and nobody's buying.

Enter "The Glengarry Leads." The big bosses have a set of fresh new leads - the Glengarry Leads, and there is much scheming and cursing and nastiness because the sales team wants the good leads, but the bosses won't give them out. The bosses are essentially setting the salesmen up to fail by keeping the good leads out of their hands. I won't say much more, but things go poorly, to put it mildly.

Practically speaking, there are good leads and bad leads in all of our businesses. What constitutes a good or bad lead may differ for you and me, but I guarantee that you've dealt with both. Sometimes the warning signs are immediate and apparent. If a prospects starts the conversation with a complaint about price, it’s generally a bad sign, as is a prospect who calls you and acts angry if you can't complete their project immediately. Some bad leads are easy to deflect. Unfortunately, sometimes you don't know that a person isn't a good fit until you take a little time to talk to them, see their property, or discuss their expectations. And this takes some time.

It's well worth the time to weed out bad prospects - but this is hard to do if you are too busy. If you wait until April to fill your production calendar, you'll be obliged to agree to work for someone without much discernment, and that can go very badly, especially in your busiest season, when every hour needs to be as profitable as possible.

Focus on targeting the best prospects up front to minimize any wasted time later. Figure out who your best prospects are, either by virtue of where they live, or by creating a simple profile that says "our best customer lives in a house that costs $300K, they make over $125K a year and they are between 45-65." Then come up with a plan to target those people and tun them into leads. I'm a big fan of both Every Door Direct Mail and traditional direct mail, but they are only worth doing if you have a reasonable idea of who your best customers are, on paper.

So start now, because the more time you build into your program, the more time you will have to separate the good leads from the bad. Don't let yourself be too hurried in the sales process, or you might end up wasting valuable time and energy working for the wrong type of client.