Top 5 Business Development Blunders

Effective communication skills are essential to successful business development. Yet they’re often under-emphasized and sometimes completely ignored. Why? Because we communicate so much and so often (approximately 20,000 words per day) we often take it for granted. But regardless of how good your product or service is and how much expertise you have in your area, it all goes to waste unless you can communicate it to others. When you actually get the chance to sit down with a potential client and discuss doing business together, don’t blow it by committing one of these big five business development blunders.

1. Talking about your product or service. Infodumping is simply telling someone all there is to know about what you’re selling. You probably cover how long you’ve been in business, who developed what, your philosophy of business, your market share and all the choices you have available. This approach is likely to leave the potential client in exactly the same place on the sales continuum as when you started. Your objective should be to get him to gravitate towards you. Go into your meeting with a strategic goal. What specifically do you want him to know, do or believe after meeting with you. Is it to place an order, sign up for a trial or believe you’re the only logical choice? Once you have a strategic goal, your destination is in sight and you can begin mapping a route to get there.

2. Not listening. No salesperson has ever listened herself out of a sale. Yet, when asked a simple question, many salespeople take it as a license to deliver a monologue. Here are three tips to practice better listening. First, use questions to discover what’s important. If the potential client says “tell me about yourself (or your product or service or company)”, respond with “what would you like to know” or “what aspect is most important to you in making a decision?” Second, never talk continuously for more than a couple of minutes without giving the other person an opportunity to speak. Third, don’t correct the other person unless it’s absolutely essential for the discussion to proceed–it rarely is and no one likes to be told he’s wrong.

3. Using sales clichés. People usually begin to lose interest the moment they feel they’re being sold. They usually begin feeling that way when they hear stock phrases such as “That’s a great question” or “What will it take to get your business today?” People need to feel like individuals, not like pieces in an assembly line. Sales clichés operate on a Pavlovian model–use a specific phrase and you’ll get the response you desire. It’s manipulative. Try shifting to a consultative approach where you’re seen as a advisor or problem-solver.

4. Failing to adapt to the situation. The problem with using a sales script is that it assumes too much. It assumes similar motivators, perspectives and situations in life. A financial planner I know has developed a very clever approach to meeting clients. He places bowls near the cash registers of higher-end restaurants in his territory. On each bowl, he places a small sign encouraging patrons to drop their business card in for a chance at a free meal at that restaurant. He goes through the cards periodically and invites someone to lunch with the understanding that he’d like a few minutes to talk about his services. When I met him for lunch, he presented his sales talk that assumed A. I had taken on a big mortgage to finance my house (I didn’t) B. I had to save for a child’s college fund (I don’t) and C. that my parents might someday need assisted living care (they’re both dead). Treat each meeting as unique and don’t assume too much.

5. Failing to distinguish features from benefits. Salespeople often focus on telling someone what a product or service is or does at the expense of what problem it solves or what pain it takes away. I once observed a commercial leasing agent show office space. As he met the clients in the building foyer, he commented on the large parking lot outside. That was a feature statement. A benefit statement would have focused on how clients would never have to search for parking or that people could always park close to the building in bad weather. Let’s say your product includes a video–that’s only a feature. The benefit is that someone can see exactly how to use your product. Apply this test to the statements you make–ask the “so what” question. If you can’t answer it, you’ve got a feature rather than a benefit.

Developing good communication skills is a result of thinking more strategically about how communication affects our interactions with others, then putting those strategies into play. When you avoid these top five blunders of business development, you’ll not only gain more business, you’ll lose less. Remember, if your idea is important, it deserves to get heard.

Business Development is a Requirement

There are many business organizations dealing in today’s world, and none of them are working to run losses. How is it that they survive in this cut throat market and ongoing competition? The answer to this is simple; business development programs are the ones that put any particular organization on top of the business charts.

Any and every business organization has to cope with the market that is never stable and undergoes many changes, so the basic and the most important idea is to stay up to date with market conditions. Meaning that you don’t give your consumer a chance of going to your counterpart as this might result in losing out on precious and potential consumers. So in this long process of business development you are said to communicate, administer and plan so as to have a superior business development for your firm.

A very striking and successful business management plan requires a well-planned approach towards your goal, but there may be an obstacle in your path, your stress level. Working on this elevated competitive level, an approach that is well planned will have beneficial results. The people that are working in the line of business development programs are normally people appointed professionals, managers and employees that work for company’s goals. They strive towards excellence and taking it to new heights by getting high profits for the company in this highly competitive market. However the people working in this field are often stressed and this would be a great barrier in their pathway of being highly productive. The extent of pressure and tension that this people carry is tremendous and for this they require regular stress management programs that consists of hypnosis, relaxation etc.

In a business world, stress is a must where it reflects your approach towards your goals and the amount of pressure you have taken in order to reach new heights. But too much stress will give you nothing but a reduced output.

For a stressed mind nothing is of great value t as compared to peace of mind that had been lost in the process of working till the limit. There’s only that much that anyone can push themselves till. Hypnosis can help you reduce stress levels and regain your past composure, zeal, enthusiasm and foresightedness. Alongside it will enable you to recognise new opportunities. Hypnosis is an age-old art that can help relieve of reliving a stressed mind and mould it back to perfection. It will make you creative and productive as compared to your stress prone days. Soft music hypnotizes your mind and allows it to calm down.

There is no need for you to go looking out for hypnosis treatment, as it is made available for you in the form of mp3 on the Internet where you can download the contents and use it to the fullest extent for your cause. Once you use this mp3 download content you will realize that you are as efficient as before. This way you will be able to make effective business development strategies that will have highly satisfying results.

Top 10 Trends in Sales and Business Development for 2014

Will companies be hiring more salespeople in 2014? What will companies do to stand out from the competition? Will CRM systems expand or contract? How will the economy impact business growth? These are some common questions I hear as I address audiences around the world. Here are my predictions for the ideas and trends that will shape sales and business development in 2014.

1. Evolution of Subject Matter Experts

Buyers can now get just about all of the information about your company, products, and services from your website. However, what they do not have is the trends, best practices, or creative applications that determine whether or not there is a fit for the customer’s situation. Buyers will continue to value the subject matter experts.

If you want to know whether or not you rise to this standard already, ask yourself if your ideal clients would value the meeting from your team enough that they would pay for the session. If so, then you might already be there. If not, then you have a goal for 2014.

2. Content Becomes Emperor

Last year, people said, “content is king.” In 2014, content will continue to be the core to building value and getting heard above the noise. Buyers (and Google) value the best educators, as Marcus Sheridan of TheSalesLion.com says. It used to be that companies feared sharing their best stuff on their websites. As more initial investigations for solutions move to search engines, your ability to stand out from the crowd comes down to whether or not you are addressing the most important questions for your ideal customer. If you are stuck with your head in the sand, you might just get run over.

3. Continued Shift Toward Vertical vs. Geographic Focus

The shift from vertical to geographic focus tends to work in cycles. With the advancement in video-based communication and collaborative technologies, geography becomes slightly less of a big deal. However, the increased value placed on subject matter expertise will shift the table in a big way in 2014 toward vertical markets.

4. Collaborative Sourcing and Selling

Over the past five years, there was a trend of buyers beating up on weaker suppliers. While the short-term goal of the buyer was a reduction in costs, the unintended consequence was the destruction of many suppliers and companies who either lacked a competitive advantage, or failed to identify their lack of negotiation and sales prowess before it was too late. Ultimately, buyers lost a portion of their supply chain. The more sophisticated buyers will seek sellers with whom they can work collaboratively to obtain the greatest value. Buyers realize that the cheapest price has little meaning if the vendor cannot deliver as needed.

Collaborative selling will reward results and outcomes, but will continue to punish those selling commodities.

5. The Shift Toward Project-Based Services Engagements

Buyers have discovered that paying by the hour creates a disincentive for innovation and efficiency. The longer it takes the vendor, the more they earn. However, for the client, the faster they get a solution, the better. The hourly-vendor who delivers the most efficiently makes the least money. In 2014, the top performing professional services organizations will start shifting as much as 30% of their billing to project-based, or outcome-based pricing (with assumptions to protect themselves). Buyers want results, and they’ll pay for it. However, the savvy customer rarely wants to sign a blank check for hours of time without a defined outcome.

6. Sick of Waiting for the Economy – Build your own

Most economists say that the economy will continue to bump along in 2014. Innovative companies with a great story will start putting their capital reserves to work to build their own economy. The economy grows when businesses grow. And, those with creativity and value will get tired of waiting for the so-called “economy” and will build their own environment to thrive. This will drive accelerated growth in the latter half of 2014 to carry into a strong 2015.

7. Hiring Trend for 2014

Recognize that there is a need for subject matter experts. Be on the lookout for businesses cross-training their subject matter experts on how to manage a sales process. Those who do hire sales professionals or sales managers will rely more on specialized recruiters to ensure their next hire is the right one. Hiring people who were just looking for work has burned many companies. Often, the hiring companies discovered that those people were out of work for a reason. There are great ways to find a gem without using a recruiter, but recruiters are still the best way to attract superstars from other companies.

8. Simplified CRM Solutions

Years ago, companies realized they needed something beyond a spreadsheet (or napkin) to keep track of their business pursuits. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions emerged to maintain knowledge, automate forecasting, and improve communication. However, over time, the CRM solutions have taken on a life of their own. The data entry requirements had become so overbearing that few organizations enforced compliance (mostly because the only people who filled out all of the fields were the worst performing reps). Look for a shift in 2014 for companies to identify the top eight (or three) pieces of information they need to understand if a deal is legitimate or not. They will ask reps to maintain fewer pieces of information, but will require compliance.

9. Better Qualification for Efficient Pipelines

It used to be that if a company was trying to reach $5 million in revenue, it would often look for a pipeline of $8 to $10 million. Today, companies often set a three to five-time multiplier. So, for $5 million, they pursue $15 million to $25 million in opportunities. Sharp organizations have started tracking the cost associated with pursuing unlikely deals. Instead of chasing everything, companies will define specific criteria for what makes a good pursuit, and which ones should be dead on arrival. The definition maintains focus, and preserves resources for the proper pursuit of the opportunities that deserve the company’s attention. Look for companies to qualify based on the relative impact and importance to the customer of solving the issue, rather than the desire of the company to sell something.

10. Honesty Prevails

With so much hype and old-school tactics, buyers will reward sellers who identify their own limitations. Claiming you are an expert at everything will be hard to believe when the buyer can search to discover the truth. Humility and candor will be sought after skills in 2014.

Multifaceted Marketing for Business Development and Small Business Marketing

One of the most critical elements of successful business development and marketing campaigns is the concept of using several vehicles to reach your potential customer. I call this Multi-Faceted Marketing. It’s based on two very simple assumptions:

1. Most people are resistant to a sales pitch, their first reaction is ‘No’.

2. Most people do not remember something until they have seen or heard it many (6-12) times. That includes your company or product name.

Your customers are overwhelmed with marketing slogans, pitches, and images. They are brain-dead when it comes to being sold. They are most likely resentful of anything that takes their time away from running their small business or mid-sized company, and would sooner ignore you than listen to you. We humans are built in a way that allows us to forget something seconds after seeing or hearing it. It may take 6 to 12 impressions in order for us to recognize something, and often more to remember it.

Question: Would you recognize the logo of the world’s most popular cola? My guess is you would if I could show it to you (it is a registered trademark). It’s probably the most recognized symbol in the world and has been around for over 100 years. But, it’s no accident that you see it everywhere you look. Their parent company knows that even though they are not a new business, and even with their preeminent position in their market, they need to advertise everywhere to support their place in your memory.

Your strategic planning and marketing plan won’t look like theirs, they spend millions on their business development and marketing, but it can contain the fundamental principles that make them successful. It can contain Multi-Faceted Marketing, which will insure your company or product name reaches your potential customer in multiple ways. By doing so, you will insure that they receive multiple impressions and will soon remember you and your products.

What does this look like? It takes some analysis like that done in an intensive Two-Day Critical Analysis and Strategic Planning Consultation, and some understanding of your company, products, and market to show the business development and marketing activities that best fit your company, but a good diversification might resemble:

1. A good website with fully implemented Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

2. Regular press releases, articles, and other public relations.

3. A proactive email campaign

4. A proactive phone campaign

5. Online targeted advertising

6. Hard copy advertising

7. Show attendance

This is a sample list and not all the activities listed apply to all companies, but you get the idea. A Multi-Faceted, diverse group of activities maximizes the opportunity for you to reach your potential customer multiple times, overcoming the first ‘No’ reaction. It provides the customer multiple impressions allowing them to build a memory of your company and product. And, it allows the time to build a relationship with them, before you ever meet them.

Developing new business isn’t easy, but by following a few basic principles, you can maximize your return on investment on every one of your business development and marketing activities. Beginning with Multi-Faceted Marketing is a good start.

Good luck and good marketing.