Fit or Failure in Business Development

This topic wasn’t on the list for discussion in this blog but it’s come up 3 times in the past 2 days and every time it makes me laugh.  Why do you insist of cramming a square peg into a round hole?  I’m not suggesting your hiring an engineer to do business development but I am suggesting that the person you’ve hired has a clear indication of failure and you just haven’t seen it yet.

It’s about fit.  You have a firm that in order for someone to become a client needs to develop trust, show expertise, and create a relationship before someone commits yet you hire someone in business development that has always focused on transactions.  Transactions usually equate to cold calling and cold calling is NOT how you get clients, its how you scare people away.  You are referred in, are top of mind when the need arises, hold speaking engagements to showcase knowledge and value to generate recognition and interest; people don’t come to you because you called them out of the blue and knocked their socks off in an unsolicited call.  Transaction sales people go after a quick turn around, they bring it in and leave it alone – not the right fit if you are looking to build relationships for your clientele.  This is a longer sales cycle, it’s about developing trust and an understanding of right fit, value and need.

I’ve also seen a couple hires lately of business development people who can’t seem to keep jobs or have a personality that reminds me of old carpet.  Nice people but insanely boring.  Your business development staff shouldn’t put people to sleep, they should be able to generate some excitement – you don’t necessarily want the life of the party as they tend to be more self focused but you need someone with energy.  Let’s think about the basics of business development –

  • they need to feel comfortable in a room of strangers
  • be able to communicate easily and build trust
  • they need a high enough energy level to portray interest and excitement all throughout the day
  • they need to be able to execute
  • and for a services business they need to understand and be able to manage the process of developing a relationship with someone they just met

Industry specific – your business development person needs to know enough about your industry to be dangerous, and its tough to know how much they actually know versus what they’ve read or been told.  Your interviews should be asking about how your would strategically grow my business – what areas would you take me, who should be my partners, what would you do that we aren’t already doing.  If they can’t grasp your field and what makes your business thrive they aren’t the right fit.

As we start to see hiring in business development increase make sure you are choosing the right candidates.  Just because its a fun interview doesn’t mean its going to work.  I love to see hiring in the space, it means people are pulling their head out of the sand and getting back to business but don’t waste time and money on the wrong hire.  In BD it will cost you more than lost wages.

FAQ’s What if I need help with strategy?

Answering your questions, have one – email me directly at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

Do you help with strategy?

Yes, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called in to simply strategize.  Essentially these are companies who have sales staff who are looking for new, fresh ideas to move sales forward.  I love this part of our work and I do it personally.  There is nothing I enjoy more than figuring out the puzzle piece.  I can see opportunity where you can’t, I can help you get there without doing it for you.  This works exceptionally well with sole proprietors or small sales teams.  We focus on overall strategy, target markets, how and where to find decision makers, what influences them, your unique capabilities, why people buy from you, your process, your presentation, your competition, your strategic partner, etc.  Most importantly we focus on what’s holding you back.  I’m not a coach by any means but I do know sales and I find with most business owners sales is an afterthought .  If you need a business coach I know great ones and will be happy to make a referral.

The initial month of sales strategy and consulting is a full scale evaluation of the entire sales process and it’s a minimum of $2500, each following month is a minimum of $1000.  If you think this is a better fit call the office and ask for Karin at 410-832-7560

FAQ’s Do you do SALES TRAINING?

Answering your Questions, have one – email me directly at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

Are you a Sales Training Organization?

No, we don’t do training.  In fact, I may piss off a few people by saying this but I believe for the most part the tactics taught in sales training organizations don’t work today.  I do believe they have a purpose – mostly for commodity or high volume sales organizations.  I can see a value there.  However when you are selling a service based on building and maintaining strong relationships tactics are the fastest way to lose business.  We’ve all been through these programs and we can spot the strategies from a mile away.  Do you know how bad I screw with someone who is “mirroring” me?  I spend the entire time focused on my next move and I don’t even hear what they are saying.

Your sales cycle is a fallacy.  You need to know where your buyer is in the process and ensure they have the right information necessary to move forward but you can’t make them move forward you can only encourage.  If you’re looking for a “trainer” I know a number who are excellent at what they do, they get results and they focus on the buyer, your internal processes, your people and not tactics.  I’d be happy to make an intro.

FAQ’s What’s your SECRET SAUCE?

Answering more of your questions – if you have one email me at kschwartz@springboardbizdev.com

 

What’s your SECRET SAUCE?

I always laugh at this guestion.  What’s the Secret Sauce on a Big Mac, it’s Thousand Island dressing – there’s no secret and they know you won’t do it on your own at home, it’s too much work.  For us, there is no secret sauce, we simply talk to people.  I hate to make it sound so simple but that’s really all it is.  We aren’t growing your business, dealing with employee challenges, handing client fulfillment and service, meeting with the bookkeeper, etc.  You don’t have the time and typically you don’t have the desire to identify, find, and develop relationships with decision makers that lead to opportunities.  It’s not easy, it requires a tremendous amount of dedication, time and focus that you simply don’t have right now and its all we do.

Our consultants understand their base so well; they understand what they need, where they are going, what they need to get there, who’s a good fit culturally, what won’t work, how we need to communicate with them, etc.  So a strong baseline understanding of the prospect is critical and then we simply talk with them.

I think the biggest thing is there’s no bullshit.  There’s no tactics to convince someone to work with you, there’s no manipulation or bait and switch; it’s simply a conversation about need and fit.  This is the reason our prospects continue to work with us – we’re respectful of their time, their needs, their budgets, their focus, and we make sure they get what they need so they can shine.  That doesn’t mean they are always correct in their thinking so we present options to help them see what’s available.  What we find is as we move forward in our relationships with these decision makers they recognize that we only bring unique, game changing capabilities to the table for them.

FAQ’s What we need from you

What do you need from me?

Initially as we work through the market research phase and begin the build the pipeline we’ll need to learn more about your experiences with clients, what’s worked, what didn’t and why.  We need to know your ideas about target markets and review your marketing material.  We certainly do not rely on marketing material however it can be helpful; if you don’t have marketing material it’s not a deal breaker.  Case studies are always helpful for us to learn more about your business but also so we can share results with your prospects.

What we need most from you is to be a team member.  Our ability to be successful requires us working as a team.  We need to know enough about your services to be dangerous but we need you to be the expert.  We are able to open doors to extremely high level decision makers and we need you to shine or we risk damaging that relationship that has taken years to develop.  We’re very careful about who we bring in front of our contacts as we know one wrong move and we may never get that opportunity again.  So for you it’s about respecting all that we do today and all we’ve done to create the relationships we have that ultimately will benefit you.  We put those relationships on the line to help you grow your business.  We need you to recognize that you need to bring your “A” game to those meetings, you need to follow up in the appropriate manner and frequency, you need to deliver on what was promised at the time it was promised and you need to service the hell out of that account.  If you intend to raise your game by growing your business you need to start today with our very first introduction.