Allow me to preach for a moment to all the sales/business development people out there. But before I do, please let me preface my sermon…
I have been fortunate to be in business for myself for 32 years. I love all it affords. The potential, the flexibility and the opportunities to help others. I have always and will always take the approach that I have much to learn. Any time I can gather any knowledge, concept or an idea that will make me better, I will always be open to it. The minute or even the second I believe that I KNOW IT ALL, is the beginning of my downfall.
There are some things however I have learned and experienced first-hand that I believe to be unconditional truths about business development. One, there is a logical flow to great business development and two, there is one primary reason it stops! Based on that preface and supported evidence from my personal experiences, I’ll begin my sermon.
Basic logic when it comes to developing great business is simple: Grow business and revenue through products/services purchased consistently from loyal customers and clients who are identified through promotion activity.
To grow your business and generate revenue, you must have a product or service that provides and perceives value.
In order to sell your product or service to make revenue, you must have a market. You need customers and clients. Some markets are vast and some are specialized but regardless, you must have enough people willing to consistently purchase what you are offering.
To identify customers and clients, you must promote yourself and what you are offering. For me the very best way to do this is prospecting. I believe regardless of the product or service you provide, regardless of the set up or means of delivering your product or service (that is people coming to you or you going to them), to secure a constant logical flow of business development you MUST prospect!
I’ve seen a lot of different negative approaches and attitudes about prospecting over the years. Here are a few. See if you can identify with them.
- Prospecting is tough. It can be. The main reason salespeople feel this way is a result of a fear factor of being rejected. No one likes to hear “no” but some get to the point to where they fear it so much, they can’t muster the courage to go again. Remember, when you hear that word, it is not a personal attack on you.
- I don’t have any prospects/I’ve run out of prospects. Why not? How? If you have truly exhausted every opportunity to promote yourself, gathered every referral possible, sought out every alternative market or situation and you have no one to talk to and you are not generating the livelihood you want or need, then you need to seek other opportunities. I do not want to be rude but if you have genuinely run out of market, then you need to do something else. Be honest, is that the truth or an excuse? If it is the truth, you need to find another way to generate revenue and enjoy your life!
- The economy is bad right now. You still have to eat don’t you? About ten years ago I had a very profitable market that I prospected that went through some major changes. For a period of about one year, when I prospected them I heard the same thing time after time, “No” things are very tight now, budget cuts, etc. Regardless of the reason, I still had to provide for my family.
I’ll admit it was very tough for a while. But the reality was I had to do something. Just because things were not going the way I planned was no excuse for me to quit. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that regardless of how your business is flowing, or how the economy is doing, you keep getting things from the electric and phone companies, (to name a few), every thirty days?
The only way to remedy this was to take control of the situation. The only way I knew how to do that, was to turn up the prospecting activity. It was either that or seek other means of earning a living. Since I had poured my life into what I believed and what I loved, there was only ONE option for me…I got productive in prospecting!
My efforts awarded me a new market that I had never worked in. Had I not been in the position I was in, I might not have found this market as quickly as I did. Additionally, after two years, the industry that I lost earlier came back and now I have two markets in my prospecting mix to develop business in!
Over the years, the example above has happened time and time again. External circumstances, economic conditions and other variables out of my control have impacted my business flow, but I have always been able to successfully ride every situation out because I believe in and I know how to prospect.
The number one reason I have found great business flow stops is when prospecting stops. When you stop filling your funnel with potential…your potential stops. It’s simple logic!
Most successful sales people regardless of how long they have been in business will tell you that it’s not difficult making a sale, or building a relationship. If you are professional and offer value to improve the lives of those you serve, closing the deal is an enjoyable experience. It’s the continued, constant process of finding those relationship building situations that requires the most focus.
So there you have it. My experience has shown me there is a logical flow to building and sustaining great business. A great product or service requires long term loyal customers and the way to find long term loyal customers is to constantly have your funnel full of great prospects. The only way to have a funnel full of great prospects is to…I think you get the idea.
It is my hope that each of you find great business opportunities consistently flowing your way!