Over the last couple of weeks I put some Business Development tips out on LinkedIn and they appeared to gain a substantial amount of traction, none of which I expected (who knew people actually cared what I had to say)… Anyway, I figured the best thing was to collate them all together in a 2-minute read and provide a little bit more detail where needed for those that are interested:
#1 Understand each individual client and their unique goals.
Every client is different to the last no matter how similar they may seem. Each one has their own ideas on what they want to achieve in their business. Make sure you really get to grips with what they are trying to achieve for their business before you move forward with offering solutions.
#2 Ensure the service or product you offer adds value and helps achieve your client’s unique goals.
Following on from tip #1 you should now know whether or not you can offer real value to your client with your services or product. If you know you can, then offer it full of confidence as you genuinely know that it will work for them. If you don’t, instead of trying to sell something that will cause issues down the line then just hold your hands up and admit that it’s nor right for you this time.
#3 Be confident to tell a client what they need, not what they want.
What I mean by this is yes, certain briefs are top quality and hit every nail on the head and will achieve the client’s goals. However, in most instances, there is a reason they have opened up the dialogue with your business. You are the experts in your area, so if you know there is a better way to reach their goals then tell them as neither of you want average results. To be honest, more often than not they appreciate the fact you are trying to help them the best way you can and not just taking their money.
#4 Value Added Costing.
Work out cost by weighing up the value added to the client from using your service and the skills involved. A lot of people tend to try and justify the work you do for them on the time you spent on it for them. However, someone could spend 24 hours a day working on it and produce absolute shite. Whereas someone else could spend 24 seconds on it and produce absolute quality. Ask yourself, which is worth more?
#5 When first approaching prospects don’t go straight in for the sell.
So many sales people make the first contact by placing all their services on the table before they even know if they are appropriate for that particular client. Instead, research the client, ask open questions about them and their company. This way you can find out if there is a real opportunity to work together. If not, at least you have expanded your network of interesting people and understand what they do.
#6 Refer, Refer, Refer…
If someone is looking for a service you don’t offer but you know someone who does then introduce them to each other right away, referrals are very powerful. Obvious, but so many people are caught up in their own sales and turnover that they forget that they can help other peoples too. I’ve generally found that over time the referral balance evens out and when it doesn’t, is it really that bad to just help a fellow business move forward?!
#7 Always be open and approachable.
Not only during work time but in your personal and online life too. You never know who you could connect with. So many times I have caught myself chatting to someone on the off chance and next thing you know we’ve had a couple of meetings and are working together. I would also like to point out that many new clients can become friends and many friends can become clients too when you are like this. Both of which have happened on numerous occasions personally.
#8 Be honest and transparent with prospects and clients.
If you can do or achieve something, tell them that you can. If you can’t do or achieve something, tell them that you can’t. This ensures both parties know where they stand and have realistic expectations moving forward. They will respect you for it, especially when you deliver exactly what you said you would.
#9 Don’t be a D*ck!
Probably the most important one! It’s pretty obvious and applies to general life just as much I would say. However, in terms of BD trust me when I say that nobody wants to do business with someone who irritates them, is self-involved, rips them off or doesn’t care. You need to respect others needs as well as your own. One sided conversations don’t tend to fare well in business or in general life.
Now, these are my thoughts and experiences gained over time which have served me well so far but I am always open to new ideas and opinions. What would your best tip or piece of advice be?