We all know that growing a business or sales territory is hard work. As noted in one of our on-line articles, a good start is to create an annualized business development plan. But simply crafting the plan isn’t enough! We must commit to the plan as well as to the proactive components of the plan — or as many people call them, the “hard part” of business development.
Honest Self Assessment
It’s important to realize that business development consists of both reactive and proactive elements.
Running advertisements, updating a web site, posting blog entries, distributing newsletters or attending networking events might all be parts of the plan, but once these action steps are taken we often find ourselves in a reactive position – that is, waiting for someone to call.
These reactive action steps are the “easy” components of business development. The more difficult aspects of business development include proactively working to make things happen. These more challenging activities include sending follow-up emails or letters in which we ask for or suggest next steps, leaving proactive voice-mail messages, making follow-up calls, and scheduling meetings.
Research, pre-call planning and some imaginative thinking are also part of the mix, but the “hard” part of business development is staying the course.
Statistics indicate that most things “happen” after someone (a seller) completes five or more contacts with a prospect. But most “sellers” make fewer than three approach calls – thus the challenge most of us face when trying to make things happen.
Setting goals and monitoring results are the best methods of ensuring success.
The first step is to identify the number of new customers or clients you’d like to add each month or each quarter
Using a reverse funnel approach, the next step is to estimate the number of appointments, lunches or meetings you’ll need to conduct in order to achieve the new customer goal
Step three is to determine the number of prospects you’ll need to contact (and how many times) in order to schedule the desired number of meetings
Now the real work begins… make the calls and measure the results
If appointments or meetings seem hard to come by, then review your metrics as well as your planning and messaging.
Growing a business or sales territory is not easy work. If you are able to achieve sufficient growth in a primarily reactive way – advertising, referrals, and so on – then you’re among the fortunate. For the rest of us, committing to proactive business development is the best approach.
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A Few Quick Seconds…
Here are a couple of related articles from past issues you might have missed, and which generated especially positive feedback:
As each new year arrives ‘tis the season for, among other things, New Year’s resolutions. In the business world, many will resolve to pursue revenue growth in one way or another, and our intentions will be good!
But the road to "you know where" is paved with these good intentions!
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Are You Interested?
Whether you are a sales manager, business executive or business owner, becoming "interested" is an important component of driving your organization's sales and business development effort. While emphasis is more commonly placed on striving to be "interesting," consider becoming more "interested" and how it influences the various people involved.
Read full article...
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