Business development

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I’ve been doing business development for over 30 years; trying to help grow organic business from existing clients and add new business by identifying, earning favor and wining new clients. It’s an art, like hitting a baseball. It’s hard to be successful a majority of time.

My mom is a wonderful women but she likes to give advice. Some might say if her gums are moving, the advice is coming.  Advice suggests that someone is doing something wrong.  One school of thought in business development is advice-focused.  Point out things that are fixable, get credit for seeing them, and ask for the solution order. Bad idea. Nobody wants to talk about their flaws, especially with strangers, not unless they are close to fatal. So the better biz/dev approach is to have prospects ask you for advice. And how does that happen?  

First the prospect needs to be aware of you. There needs to be some top-of-mind awareness. Second they need to consider you as a good source of advice. “What have you done for me that makes me believe you can help?”  Third, they need to trust your advice will be sound. And lastly, you need to be easy to reach and available.  Sound like the marketing “steps to a sale” model?  Sure does.

Business development done well is a long term brand build, not a short term direct response transaction.  Most of my clients have come from development over time.  I have shown interest in them and their business over time, offered up insights not advice over time, and become familiar enough so that when the time was right, they called me.

So two nuggets: Do not be an advice-giver and take a long term approach to biz/dev. It is a craft not a transaction. Peace.

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