Many times, business development success comes from places not originally imagined.
I was reminded of that last week when speaking to an old coaching client, someone I worked with about 4 years ago.
First of all, he said to me “Scott, we did get 20 % – 30% better at prospecting.” But our big gains came from other whacks aside the head from our discussions.
1. Structure: “Now when we sit down with a client we have a plan. We have an opening that works. Questions prepared. We know where we want to go and are very aware of the clock ticking.”
This professional team sold very high-level big-ticket professional services to the well heeled that had tons of choices. But when they sat down with a solid prospect, because they saw themselves as “professionals.” They really just kind of winged it. But we worked on organizing the time they had with a prospect so that by the end of a 45-minute meeting, they did a much better job of earning the next step toward closing the business. That came out of discussions about the structure of those interactions. That there are component parts to be aware of and to execute. Same with a face-to-face meeting.
2. Stories. “We told no stories before. Now we do and prospects get it.
You have probably heard me talk of “ear candy.” Those bits, examples, illustrations and real life yarns that demonstrate your skills and points in a manner your prospects and clients will remember and grasp. Stories make for great communication. In this case although the client had a ton of stories, they told no stories. They stuck with the features and facts and meetings were drier than a covered bridge. The stories they brainstormed conveyed their points much more effectively.
3. Be different: “Scott, the biggest thing we got from you… be different. Now we are.”
Seems obvious to me. Want to leap frog your competition? Look around and find out what everyone else does and then — don’t do that. You can’t break away from the pack by doing the same thing. Don’t succumb to “common knowledge,” industry norms and heaven forbid you do what everyone else tells you do.
Remember this. Be different from the mob, but practice behaviors similar to those successful. The more your behaviors deviate from those that are successful, the harder it will be for you to win.
4. Relate to what he clients want. “Now we ask right up front. “What do you want to accomplish?”
How can you sell someone unless you really know what he or she wants? This simple question, which had to be practiced and rehearsed it, was so foreign to them, opened up a whole new world of relating to prospects.
5. Referral sources grew. “We aimed the call process toward potential referral sources. That worked.”
Same call process. Same call structure. Just a different message.
So the original gig was to get more appointments with strangers. There was no quantum leap for this client but he said “Scott, we got 20%-30% better.”
It was the other things, learning to structure a call, tell stories, the determination to be different, to ask people what they want and turning the process loose on referral sources, that generated the major improvements.
When you study sales, if you have your eyes opened and you are thinking, you will improve in many areas not originally expected.
Now go be different.