It goes without saying, that generating new business is the lifeblood of any going concern.
Whether you’re a multinational bank, a local fitness centre, providing wedding planning services, a retail store or a consultant, you will have considerable resources – both money and time – decked against your plans to bring in new clients and grow your revenue stream.
I’ve got to be honest and admit that Business Development does not come naturally to me. It has previously conjured up images of aggressive and pushy salesmen, trying to convince a hapless punter that a ten-year old Ford Focus performs in the same way as a new Mercedes E-Class!
But it’s safe to say, that model of selling is more or less obsolete, and I’ve certainly had to change my mindset since starting and growing my business.
In particular, there are five tips and tricks which have really helped me start to master the BD process. I’ve incorporated them into my business, and I thought I’d share them. I hope you find them useful too!
Here are 5 tips which have helped me master the Business Development process. I hope you find them useful!
KNOW your target audience
You need clarity on who specifically each product or service in your repertoire is intended for.
Do you mainly deal with individual consumers (that is, B2C)? In that case, you need to work out if your product is mainly for the male or female segments of the population; or maybe it’s unisex. What age range are they in? What do income range do you think they fall in, and how does that relate to the price points you are considering?
If you cater for other businesses (that is, B2B), what sectors are the businesses you have set your sights on? Do those businesses have to have been in operation for a certain amount of time; do they need a certain level of liquidity? Do they need to generate a revenue within a specific range?
UNDERSTAND their problems
It’s crucial that you have a handle on the kinds of issues that your target audience face regularly.
So if you run a PR agency, your potential clients probably need exposure and coverage for their brand and product range. If you run a gym, your target audience have a need for a comfortable place where they can achieve their fitness goals, under the supervision of skilled professionals.
I’m sure you know your business inside out; now take the time to study the problems your target audience face each day.
Understand HOW your product or service can help them
I know it sounds simple, but businesses often fall foul by trying to provide the solutions they want, to problems that don’t exist.
So, the solution to inefficiencies within a department may not be deploying new software. It may be more useful to re-engineer the processes within that department, or review and re-structure the operating model as a whole.
That may mean that you earn less, but providing a solution that does not a suit a client will never pay off. Not in the long run anyway!
APPROACH your Target Audience
This implies that you know where to find them!
If you don’t, there are many places – both online and offline – where they hang out, hoping to bump into someone skilled and authentic with the solution to their problems. You may find that you prefer some more than others, but networking events, LinkedIn, telemarketing, email campaigns and mailshots are ways of approaching potential clients.
Long-term, using tools like social media and blogging are ways of showing your audience what you've got
Also, we often think of the direct approach only. In the long-term, tools such as using social media and blogging – about your services, problems clients have and how to solve them, case studies, testimonials from past clients – are ways of showing audiences what you’ve got. It is a slow burn, but reaps rewards in the long run!
EXPLAIN how your product or service will solve their problem
When someone takes the time to explain in detail how their product or service can solve a specific problem I have, they tend to get my full attention!
At that moment, it ceases to be a sales pitch, and becomes an interesting conversation; one I am willing and ready to engage with.
Ongoing RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
Engaging with your target audience – and doing so on a continuous basis – is essential, especially when it comes to big-ticket items. Think about the last time to spent a significant sum on a product or service. You didn’t just hand it over the moment someone mentioned it, did you?
It’s often said that the aim is to build relationships with your potential clients, so they get to KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you. Once that rapport is developed and they believe in your expertise, you are well on your way, not just to making a sale, but to gaining a client for life.
I hope these tips help you on the journey to achieving great things in your sales.
And, if you need help developing Business Development processes – or fine-tuning your existing ones – do drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you.