How to Take the Pressure Out of Business Development

One of the main reasons why salespeople fail in sales is their lack of attention to business development. Business development is integral to sales success yet many salespeople I have spoken to avoid or put minimal effort into prospecting activities. This in my opinion borders on sales call reluctance.

What is business development?

• Business development is about developing new business with both potential and existing clients
• A sale rarely happens on the first meeting. It requires multiple and varying touch points such as the phone, social media and email over a period of time
• Business development needs to be consistently implemented to maximize new sales opportunities and to create sales growth.

Creating new sales opportunities

The less you know about a potential client the more difficult it is to succeed in getting a meeting. Your targeted clients can be divided into:

• No Information – you know nothing about the organization and have no contacts
• Limited Information – you have some information about the organization but haven’t developed any contacts.

Strategies to connect with potential clients you have never contacted

• Use social media to gain information that you could use
• Phone direct once you have developed your value statement
• Use 6 degrees of separation – who knows who within your circle of influence who knows the potential client?

The ‘cold’ call

The term ‘cold’ has been used in sales for decades and conjures false thoughts and feelings. There is nothing cold about contacting a prospective client for the first time. It’s new but not cold so could I suggest you replace ‘cold’ with ‘new?’ Words impact on how we feel.

Words impact on how we feel

Salespeople often struggle and can become mentally immobilized when calling a potential client because:

• They put too much pressure on themselves to make the appointment
• They become self-centered instead of focusing on the client
• They become fearful of saying the wrong thing
• They have a push instead of a pull mindset
• They start selling when the client isn’t in the process of buying
• They use words and phrases commonly used by most salespeople
• They try to take short cuts.

Salespeople often start by talking about themselves and their company. For example, “The reason for calling is I’d like to set up an appointment to introduce myself and tell you about our new product/service”.

The attention needs to be on what is in it for the potential client. This is done by stating value from their perspective and can be measured. A value statement can be tangible and/or intangible that lets the potential client know what they can expect when using your product/service. Intangible value is not easy to measure, for example lower risk, sense of well-being and trust. Measures can be expressed as a percentage, timeframe, or in financial terms.

Measures can be expressed as a percentage, timeframe, or in financial terms.

For example, “We completed a project recently with a company of your size and reduced their overheads by 20% without losing one employee. Would you be interested in how we did this?”

Words that communicate value are and not limited to:

Improve, increase, reduce, downtime, productivity, operating cost, turnaround, maximize, minimize, downtime, save, eliminate, enhance, cut, gain and profit.

Success in business development requires persistence and consistency using a variety of touch points whilst focusing on stating value from the client’s perspective. This will provide you with the greatest opportunity to secure an initial meaningful conversation and a meeting.

Business Development For the Private Labeled Bottled Water Industry

The private labeled bottled water industry is exciting with tremendous growth opportunities and the ability for suppliers to offer their customers and strategic partners creative, effective advertising solutions.

But like any business, care is required to develop the business in a profitable way and the best way to do this is to establish a focused business development effort that utilizes the tools and techniques established by successful business.

The first step is to define the concept “business development”.

Definition:

Business development “includes a number of techniques designed to grow an economic enterprise. Such techniques include, but are not limited to, assessments of marketing opportunities and target markets, intelligence gathering on customers and competitors, generating leads for possible sales, follow up sales activity, formal proposal writing and business model design.

Business development involves evaluating a business and then realizing its full potential, using such tools as marketing, sales, information management and customer service. For a sound company able to withstand competitors, business development never stops but is an ongoing process.” (source: Wikipedia)

From this definition it is clear that business development is more than closing the sale and each technique requires detailed planning and follow up.

Using the concepts of business development, it is possible to establish a profitable private label water business but it takes considerable initial and continuing effort.

The following case study involve a fictional Bottled Water company that entered the private labeled bottled water business. For discussion purposes it will be called ABC bottler (“ABC”)

Unique Value Proposition:

An initial challenge is the development of a Unique Value Proposition that answers the question “Why should I buy from you”.

After a review of the market and the competition it was determined that private labeled bottled water was a powerful, cost effective, advertising vehicle but because a customer’s brand was affected, high product quality and customer service was required. ABC’s Unique Value Proposition was established and stated:

“ABC will provide powerful and cost effective advertising and brand promotion for its customers based upon the highest quality consumable private label water, label design and customer service.”

Marketing and Target Markets:

Field and internet research was conducted with the basic question being: What are the characteristics of industries are most likely to use our product at a price that is profitable to us. Key characteristics were developed:

  • Prospects that provide a quality product or service.
  • Industries operating in a competitive market environment where product/service differentiation was critical.
  • Prospects that required drinking water for customers, clients or prospects.
  • Prospects that maintained a quality brand image.

Initial research indicated that the following industries were initially high potential targets:

  • Hospitality (Hotels and Spas)
  • Banking
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Real Estate
  • Ski Resorts

Sales Channels and Market Access:

It was decided that two channels would be used to go to market – direct selling and e-commerce. An e-commerce site was developed that allowed customers to design their own label for the bottles or provide an existing design consistent with the customer brand strategy. Search Engine Marketing and Optimization techniques were used to promote this channel.

A direct sales staff was formed to develop and close sales opportunities and these efforts were supported by a direct mail campaign and networking with local chambers of commerce, local trade associations and lead sharing groups.

The sales effort, after a series of initial false starts and disappointments matured successfully as we reviewed and revised the fine points of our effort.

Product Quality and Customer Service:

ABC’s corporate strategy for all products was to stay at the high end of the market and this was particularly true for private label bottled water where the market is characterized by cutthroat competition and many low quality vendors who are slashing prices and selling on price rather than quality.

ABC focused on three areas of quality:

  • Water purity – ABC used a steam distillation/ozonation process that guaranteed 99.9% pure water that tasted delicious.
  • Label Design Quality – ABC used an in house professional designer to guarantee label design quality.
  • Label Print Quality – ABC used laminated label stock that was extremely durable and water proof and used digital or flexo printing technology to guarantee quality.

Customer service was particularly important as ABC established a reputation for delivering on time and correctly. If mistakes occurred, and they did, ABC adopted a no questions asked guarantee. ABC established a reputation as a reliable vendor for its customers.

The business became a successful mainstay of ABC’s business but only because it developed a planned, business development process that was reviewed constantly and made changes that the market required.

10 Of the World’s Best Business Development Ideas

Brilliant business development ideas have helped small businesses grow into big businesses that employ hundreds to thousands of people.

Here are 10 of the world’s best professional development ideas:

1. Partnerships
Going into partnership came about when one party has what the other party does not have. For example, many people with great products (that consumers will jump at) often go into partnership with people who have the money to launch the product off the ground.

2. Franchising
This is one of the business development ideas that close to the top of the list! Franchising offers companies a chance to market and sell their brand and their business processes to other businesses in exchange for franchise charges and at times a share of the franchise proceeds. This professional development idea is pretty common with well known eateries, restaurants, residential maid services etc.

3. Using The Internet
Without a doubt, going online is truly a business development idea that every business in this modern day and age needs to implement or remain in obscurity. Every type of business can promote their business through a website.

4. Exportation
Products that are in hot demand outside the shores of the country are exported abroad. This is another smart professional development plan that many businesses employ, because the high demand of the product will sustain the company’s financial, management and production needs.

5. Opening Another Location
This is a step that a lot of companies take in order to serve their growing customers especially if their present location cannot serve customers who do not reside within the locality. Companies also open another location in areas where growth opportunity has been clearly spotted.

6. Trade Shows
Attending trade shows is one business development idea that makes perfect sense because it offers business owners the opportunity to network and to even size up the competition as well. Many businesses have achieved their breakthrough in business by simply attending trade shows.

7. Corporate Social Responsibility
Contributing to the growth of the community is one way to attain business growth. People always feel a sense of loyalty to those that care about them. When they purchase products and services from a company that gives back to the community, they also feel that they are giving back to the community when they purchase goods and or services from that company as well.

8. Excellent Customer Service
This is perhaps one of the most effective business development strategies in the world. People will always do business with a company that offers them quality products and top notch customer service.

9. Giving Away Sample Products
Giving consumers a taste of your product is one way of getting them hooked and reeling them in. Manufacturers of beauty products have used this professional development strategy for years and have enjoyed immense growth.

10. Customer Loyalty Program
This particular business development idea is one that many consumers appreciate and has helped many businesses retain their existing customers and capture new clients/customers.

Small Business Digital Marketing: Using the Internet to Grow Your Business

If you are a small business and you are not yet marketing yourself online then you are really missing out. On the other hand, maybe you’ve tried it but you just haven’t been able to generate the results you’d like? Either way, it’s time to change things and get serious about this opportunity…

The sad truth is that most small businesses aren’t marketing themselves effectively using the internet. This is usually because they lack the expertise to implement their marketing campaigns in the right way, or they believe that it is expensive and thus not something they can afford.

What can you achieve with small business digital marketing?

The reality is that digital marketing is a constantly changing landscape. If you really want to succeed with it and generate great results for your business then you definitely need to know what you are doing. If it is done in the right way however then this type of marketing can enable you to grow your business and reach new customers in a way that has never been possible before.

The digital world creates a wonderful opportunity for small businesses to grow their income, find new clients and better engage existing ones. From advertising through social media to reach new audiences, generating leads through carefully crafted website landing pages, or engaging existing customers through content-filled email newsletters, this tool can generate real tangible results for your company.

Getting started with small business digital marketing

The first thing to get clear on is that you need a definite plan. Diving straight into the field without thinking about what you want to achieve, and how you are going to achieve it, is simply setting yourself up for failure. Failing to plan is probably the number one reason why most small businesses fail with this inception.

It is very important to have a clear and detailed strategy. You should set out specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound marketing objectives and targets, and you should ensure that you think carefully about the digital marketing channels you are going to use to get your message out there.

It is also important to remember that digital marketing isn’t an instant solution. Achieving effective results requires consistent action, on-going testing and regular reviewing of progress.

Getting help with small business digital marketing

As we have already touched upon, digital marketing is a complex field that’s constantly changing. It is therefore crucial to have a good understanding of the subject and know exactly how to plan and implement digital campaigns for maximum results.

Many small business lack in-house expertise and thus choose to seek the help of a digital marketing agency. This is often a smart decision because it brings much-needed expertise to the table. A digital marketing implemented by professionals is much more likely to generate great results than a campaign implemented by someone who is relying in trial and error. In addition, getting external help with small business digital marketing frees the company to concentrate on running their business, without worrying about their digital campaigns.