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Secrets of New Business Development

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
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.
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”.