Business Development for The New Normal

Being successful in the new normal probably seems like an almost impossible task. It is harder to win new work, but more importantly, interacting with existing clients is becoming more challenging. If you are in the professional space then existing clients are the bulk of your revenues. As the contact and work dry up you see your fee-base drying up. There will be some exceptions particularly those who are involved in the overheated building markets. Now maybe a great time to review and revitalise your business development program.

What has this got to do with Web 8 and what we do? Well, not much except that, and my sales team are really about developing business and digital marketing is the tool. Also, I get bored writing about web things all the time.  I have many years of business development in a variety of industries and there are certain factors that are consistent across any business. Most of this may be blatantly obvious and I do not apologise for this. So here we go. Did I mention these are daily habits?

Create a Plan and ………… STICK TO IT!

Ok we all know we have to have a plan. Make it simple and focus on the 20% of the tasks that make the 80% of the difference. Most of us are not just BDM. Anyone running a business must wear many hats. So the plan must not only be simple but DOABLE. Ok not really a word but it needs to take into account everything you need to do. Make sure to set aside the time to do this.

Put Time into Your Day

Great you have the plan and it looks great. Now put that time into your diary. Make an appointment, block out time and stick to it. Sure keep in touch with existing clients but make time to research and contacting potential clients. It is these new clients that replace the revenue from existing clients.

Empathise and be a Counsellor

Listen like a friend and try to understand the person and not just the problem your services can resolve. Seek to listen, understand and empathise with them You may feel more like a counsellor and this is how we need to be seen. They are not expecting you to have the answers, at least not right away. The key here is to make the connection and be seen as someone they can talk to.

 

Social Media

There is no doubt more and more people are on social media. Find where your potential clients are and what they are engaging with.  Be ready to offer some free advice, don’t give away the farm, this may help your clients recover and will be appreciated. Also be prepared to share your network as you may be able to recommend someone who can help with that problem. Sure it does not bring in the business directly. It does have an impact and you never know who else may be watching and see you as a Good Guy!

No Sales Pitch

Now is just not the time to make a sales pitch or ask for the business. Your clients are worried about cash flow and how they are going to pay the bills. If you try to ‘close’ the deal too early, it will likely put them off. What I’ve noticed in the new normal even more so than the GFC, is that deals are taking a lot longer to come to fruition. What I do know from observation and bitter personal experience, is if you try to hurry a deal up, it often leads to you losing the deal. If you are seen as the Good Guy, then they will come to you when the time is right for them.

Keep Kind

Once the client is engaged then we need to go beyond just a good job and add some extra value. It may be payment terms. I have a client who is really struggling but needs my services. We have got them on a payment plan that is really just a token. They know it and appreciate it. So much so they have given me a lot of new clients. Make sure there are no surprises when they invoiced, be open about all costs. This will not only reinforce your brand but will increase your business in the long term. Client referrals are about the best way to get new clients.

Take Time to Build Trust

This can include a variety of actions. Sharing articles, news items, and other information that may be of interest. Years ago I used to photocopy and fax (or even snail mail) articles to clients. Now it is just a few clicks to send an email link. This builds trust quickly and shows you are interested in them rather than just the business they can give you. Doing so can give you a more meaningful relationship with the client. One client, I won years ago was helped by taking an interest in the sports club my prospect was interested in. Every time I saw an article or read about his team I would have something to chat about. After a winter of dropping in every other week, I finally won this account. Today research and information are much easier to get.

Be your own Brand Manger

The traditional networking events, coffee meets, seminars, and one on one meetings are no longer as frequent or reliable as they were. People are less comfortable with in-person meetings and social gatherings. We are bouncing in and out of lockdown. I had 8 meetings scheduled this week and have spent some time today moving these to zoom meetings. There is no doubt that the use of Websites and  Social Media, is increasing even in the B2B World. Make sure your online presence is sending the right messages. Look at your Website, Social Media, and other digital marketing to make sure you are sending the right messages and engaging with your potential clients.

I hope you find this useful if you want to discuss this further then feel free to get in touch.  Just give me a call on 0225431080.

Thanks, John.

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