The Art of Business Development
The activity of pursuing strategic opportunities for a business or organisation, for example by cultivating partnerships or other commercial relationships, or identifying new markets for its products or services.
What is the difference between sales and business development?
The definition of sales is generating transactions.
The sole focus of a mature sales team is to close deals with the qualified leads that are coming from either your business development efforts or other lead generation strategies that are designed to start conversations with the right potential customers.
Effective Business Development tips:
Know Your Competition.
Add Value and Build Trust.
Use Testimonials Wisely.
Keep an Eye on Online Reviews.
Ask for the Business.
Don't Let Relationships Go Cold.
Beat Your Competitors to the Punch.
Build a pipeline of opportunities.
Reply to messages/emails in a timely manner.
Do not make promises you cannot keep.
Follow up on quotes
How to be great at Business Development:
I believe in customer relations and service, if you can get this right than you have achieved 50% of your goal. You could be the best Business Development Manager and relationship builder, but if you can not back this up with great service then this will be where you lose your customers to the opposition. The goal is to follow up every meeting with an email thanking your customer for the meeting.
How do I approach Business Development?
Everyone always tries to get new customers on board, not a wrong approach, but have you ever thought that you might not have yet explored all the opportunities within your current customer base.
Every company I worked for, my first goal was to ensure that I introduce myself to every customer that our company are dealing with or has dealt with in the past. I use the company CRM or customer list and plan all my meetings. I email calendar invites to all existing customers and I call the heading – Introductory meeting.
The first couple of meetings is not about sales or products, it is about relationship building and to allow your customer get to know who you are and vice versa. Always remember that people buy from people and yes first impressions do count.
80% of your sales comes from 20% of your customers.
I found by exploring within our own current customer base, I found many missed and new opportunities. Once I have managed to build and win the trust of our customer base, I start looking at new customers.
How do I find new customers?
Easy for some and hard for other, depend on your confidence level, personality and contacts. Well I found that asking my current customer the right questions and asking for referrals has help open doors. Do not be scared to ask. I found that customers are more than willing to steer you in the right direction.
Secondly, attend trade shows, engineering event, strata events etc. Take plenty of business cards and your company capability statements. Hand them to the customers, explain to them what your company is about.
When I attend any functions or shows, I always take business cards, when I am back at the office I always follow up with an email to the clients and I include a link to my companies’ website. Once I made a successful contact, I follow up with a coffee invite.
Always remember that you are not just growing the company you work for network, but you are also building your own network that will follow you if you made an impression.
Finally, use social network like LinkedIn, post articles, advertise your company’s services or products. Research companies and try and find the correct contact you need to catch up with. Research the companies you are calling on to ensure you know what they do, customers do pick up on this.
Always remember that you are your the company opportunity pipeline builder, have fun doing Business Development, there is nothing more gratifying working with people and offering solutions