Secrets of New Business Development Nov 18 2014 Great service spirit is the foundation for not only retaining clients but also developing successful new business. When you serve your prospective clients the right way before they become your client, they give you an opportunity to partner with them, a new partnership is born and you leave a memorable impression even when you are not with the company anymore. This article is not about tactics for increasing the sales funnel or to achieve sales targets, but a strategy every sales person must deploy to successfully deliver value whilst developing new business. Here are my 10 secrets to achieve success in new business development 1) BELIEVE in what you sell Sales being mainly about how you convince a prospective client to buy or invest in your company, it becomes very important that as a sales person you really believe in the value of what you sell and also believe that you will be able to secure the business deal. It is only when you are convinced, you are really able to communicate it naturally and consequently influence the prospective client to buy or partner with your company. 2) Be TENACIOUS No matter how lengthy the sales cycle turns out to be, it is important to be determined and focused whilst developing new business. It took me three years to secure Unilever and more than a year to get Siemens on board for a company I worked with. Tenacity when exhibited positively and in favour of the prospective client helps you cultivate the confidence required for them to shake hands with your company. 3) Communicate VALUE to your client Does your communication style convey how anxious you are to gain business or does it convey the correct message as to how your company can deliver value? Any client is most interested in partnering only with the company that can help to solve their business problem as efficiently as possible. Focus therefore must always be to effectively communicate how your company can solve their business problem and help alleviate pain areas for your prospective client. 4) VALUE your client Some of the ways to show that you value your prospective client are by being polite; it may sound obvious but unfortunately sometimes the obvious may not always prevail especially when your company is bigger in size as compared to that of the prospective client. Any client must always be valued even if your company is a bigger brand. You could take simple steps to show value such as, responding promptly to their queries, getting back with answers to those queries you were not able to answer immediately, getting feedback from time to time, setting correct expectations, investigating to understand the pain areas of their business and seeking ways to solve them, sending out formal minutes after every meeting and ensuring each action item listed in the minutes is completed - without fail. All this will express your genuine interest and will help to build credibility about you as sales professional. 5) PROMISE to deliver Sales people often carry a perception of over promising to achieve sales. As a sales person, you are the face of your organisation and it is absolutely key that you promise only what your company can really deliver and once promised make every effort to ensure the service gets delivered to the promise. By doing this, not only will you consistently build the prospective clients trust in your company but also develop a better brand and personal credibility, which will help you develop new and organic business and gain positive reference across client network for more business opportunities. 6) Maintain OPEN Communication Open communication does not mean revealing trade secrets. It means to be honest, and to acknowledge that we all are human instead of being mechanical and to be able to apply emotional intelligence as an attempt to revive your prospective client’s confidence and trust in a challenging situation. It could be as simple as, explaining your company’s strategic standpoint should your prospective client’s expectation differs from yours. I remember having to salvage the trust and relationship with a prospective client who was not willing to welcome any conversation for the poor experience they had previously. I managed to persuade them for a face to face meeting and making full use of this opportunity, I offered an apology on behalf of my company to begin with. Once the apology was accepted, I then communicated transparently about the probable strategic reasons behind what may have caused such an experience. I did manage to successfully instill some confidence and my company was invited to submit a proposal. Due to the previous experience however, I made conscious effort to re-gain client confidence fully. At the end all worked out well and we had a new blue chip financial giant on board. Moral of this story is: by communicating openly you help the prospective client appreciate your perspective and build a positive relationship in return. 7) RESPECTFUL Follow up Follow up is crucial in sales, but when it goes overboard or is done without permission, it becomes follow up abuse. In doing so, you end up communicating that you value your own business more than your prospective client and subsequently leave a poor impression about you as a sales person and your company. The best way to follow up is to ask by when could you expect a response, then take permission to follow up and set correct expectations about how the follow up would be made i.e. via telephone or email in the event you don’t hear back. Always stick to the verbal agreement you established with the prospective client and you will be respected for respecting their space. 8) NURTURE the relationship Aim of nurturing is to build a personable relationship by engaging the prospective client from time to time. Send relevant information about the industry or anything that may be valuable, doing this will not only communicate value but also serve as a gentle reminder to show how interested you are in them. Carry out free audit if possible or collaborate with other departments to drive innovation and explore opportunities to encourage communication. 9) Think commercial be CORDIAL Sometimes sales people are so target orientated that they leave the customer experience aside especially when they do not secure a business. It is natural to feel disappointed after months or years of effort you've put into the sales cycle; however a poor customer experience or a carefree non-verbal communication at this point may jeopardize reputation, relationship and any opportunity to partner ever again. The last thing you ever want to do is to let go the professionalism you maintained throughout your dealings. Instead of a sudden stop to communication or showing how disappointed you are, respond positively and take this as an opportunity to learn by gathering feedback, continue to build relationship and welcome opportunities to partner in the future. Also, if at any point during the sales cycle, your company would like to withdraw from the sales cycle, be sure to exit professionally by explaining the reasons and the strategic perspective of your company ensuring doors are always kept open for future opportunities. You never know when they may be acquired by a bigger company and you may want to partner again or even meet up with a key client elsewhere in the industry. Make the last impression a lasting one. 10) Give credit to TEAM WORK Successful Business Development is not just about the sale and the sales person. It is about team work and support from other functions which goes a long way in delivering the overall solution. When you celebrate success for a fantastic new business you secure, don’t forget the efforts put in by other functions and give due credit to all who supported. As a true business development professional you not only care to develop new business but also build morale of internal teams who deliver the service that lies at the heart of your business. Happy Selling! Written by Aarti K. Sharma MBA MCIM LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharmaaarti About the author: Aarti has hands-on business development experience with Fortune Global 500 company's. She enjoys leading marketing projects and driving a culture of team spirit. Aarti believes, “Marketing efforts are most effective when client is placed at the heart of your business and you can put yourself in client’s shoes”.