Why No One Calls You Back

While looking through Facebook today I came across this article about why people check their voicemail and I had to laugh because it’s so true.  I don’t check my email to get the message (most of the time) I check it to make the blinking stop!  So the question is, how are you reaching out to clients and prospects?  Do you think they really listen to your voicemail?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/04/voicemails_n_4723562.html

Let’s face it gatekeepers and phone systems have become better at keeping you from speaking to your “target” so how do you reach your prospect, how do you let them know all the awesome things you can give them?  I get emails every day from people who found me on Google, looked at my website (yes I know it needs work) and are reaching out to me to tell me how great they are at SEO, web design, blogging, etc.  and yet they found me in a search so it can’t be THAT bad, right?  Do these emails annoy me, you better believe they do.  I didn’t ask for them to send me a proposal (yes some actually send proposals), some get frustrated with me for not responding as if their frustration will make me respond, right?  So no one wants your voicemail, no one wants your email, how in the hell are you supposed to find prospects?

While part of the issue is the means by which you have chosen to communicate the real issue is what you are communicating.  Please don’t do the features and benefits vomit on me.  I don’t care that you have “x” number of years experience, went to such and such a college, are cheaper than the competition, have the best whatchamacallits…I just don’t care.   I want someone who understands my business, understands my challenges, has solutions that really work for me and understands that I don’t have the time or desire to do things because they want me to.  So what’s it really about:

  • You need to demonstrate that you understand your prospect’s industry, challenges, how they do business
  • You are flexible in communication style and frequency
  • You recognize that it’s a buying cycle and not a selling cycle and if you don’t do your job you are not permitted to go to the next step
  • You have a legit solution for me and can show me how I will receive tremendous value with your services
  • Prospects still value relationships – they need to feel like they know you and trust you, they buy on emotion (unless its a commodity then its price first) not  features and benefits.  To get to the right prospect you need to be where they are, get introduced, be viewed as an asset first and a sales person last.

Don’t forget to ask your prospect how they prefer you communicate with them.  It’s all about them.

 

 

It Really Is YOU not ME

I’m sure at some point in your dating life someone said “it’s not you, it’s me” and you believed them.  It doesn’t mean that it was a bad thing that your relationship didn’t work out although at the time you were probably devastated.  The same happens every day in business and whether it’s you or me is irrelevant; we’re just not the right fit.

A few blogs ago we talked about our Client Acceptance Protocol and the changes we had to make to ensure we are focused on working with the right clients.  We find that there are certain business owner traits that coincide with a certain size and type of client and we’ve learned over almost 5 years where we can and cannot be successful.

Here’s what we look for in a client:

  • A unique offering, product or service
  • A CEO who knows how to delegate and outsource
  • A CEO who understands their sales cycle
  • A client who is looking to build long term happy client relationships and not just transactions
  • A respectful leadership team and corporate culture
  • A leadership team who truly understands their people are their greatest asset
  • A leadership team who regularly, consistently communicates and receives feedback with grace

What we know doesn’t work:

  • A CEO that’s a micro-manager
  • A CEO without a vision of the future of the company
  • The CEO who believes that their people are the smartest and their service is better than anyone else – this is usually the person who is not living in reality
  • A CEO or corporate culture build on disrespect
  • A CEO or leadership team that cannot accept feedback or places blame on everyone else
  • A CEO who thinks their team is disposable

As you can see it’s not easy to tell one from the other in a meeting or two.  Everyone puts their best foot forward in an interview and no one will tell you they are a passive aggressive nutcase or they micromanage everyone and everything.   People have asked why in our Client Acceptance Protocol have we instituted meetings with other members of the company and with clients along with attending new prospect meetings…this is why.  You can learn a lot from seeing someone in action, how they respond to questions, how they handle adversity.  These meetings allow us to learn more about the company, its process, its unique capabilities, and most importantly it allows us to see who we’re really partnering with.  Every day we put our relationships and our reputations on the line for our clients and one bad client can ruin years of work, we look to ensure that never happens.  Outsourced business development is a team  approach; we rely on each other to close deals and if we can’t trust the behavior of our client, we can’t in good consciousness represent them

 

Where have you been?

I’ve been AWOL, definitely MIA from this blog – a huge No-No.  I know this and yet the business required so much of my time these past few months that I neglected the one thing I know people look for – information.  Yes I was busy, new and existing clients, a pipeline to die for, and most importantly recreating our structure.  2012 taught me a few things – like having policies in my head was probably not a good idea, sure I communicated them (or so I thought) but how was anyone to really know what I expected if it wasn’t on paper?  So it’s now on paper.

We changed how we “on-board” a client.  We found that most clients had a ready, fire, aim approach to new business development and for many the idea of target markets was anyone that breathes.  We revamped our Client Acceptance Protocol and it made sense to create one for each new client so our consultants could more easily stay on task.  Our government contractors say,” it’s easy we just focus on this agency and that agency” and yet each of these agencies has multiple silos with separate decision makers so how do you know where to go in each agency?  We’ve found that a more in-depth market review and analysis in the beginning leading to a Client Acceptance Protocol for each new client prior to pipeline development led to a stronger understanding of the client’s unique capabilities, an easier transition for the consultant to communicate most effectively with prospects and it gave the client a better understanding of our strategy.

We did a billing and invoicing policy for our clients so there are no longer any questions regarding pay structures, how it’s handled and more importantly for me who handles it (and guess what …it’s no longer me)(side question – what are the things taking up your  valuable time that could easily and cost effectively be outsourced?).   We updated our Client Acceptance Protocol and it’s in the hands of everyone in the office so we all stay on task when it comes to marketing and new client engagement.  No longer can we choose to bring on a client if they don’t fit the mold (we call this rescuing puppies).  If they don’t fit, they don’t fit and we’ll be glad to introduce them to someone else who may be able to help.  In fact over the past several months I’ve given 5 opportunities to my competition – they were just a better fit.

Rescuing Puppies is the phrase my husband chose one night about 4 years ago as we were talking about a client that just wasn’t the right fit but I knew we could help them if they would just let us do our work and stop the self -sabotage.  Of course all of our pets are rescues and there is definitely something in my core about helping and taking care of others, but sometimes, in business, I want to help them more then they want to really help themselves.  As it turns out this particular client really wasn’t ready or willing to make the changes necessary for them to thrive.  This is something we see every day with smaller companies.  Almost 5 years into the business we can now spot a “puppy” a mile away and while we may have a personal relationship with the owner and we may want to see them thrive, we know the total costs will outweigh the benefits.  How often do you take on a client that isn’t the right fit?  What have you done to ensure your clients truly fit within your target?  Where are your policies?  If you’re like me you communicated, or at least thought you had communicated the policies and yet for some reason the same issues kept popping up.  Many thanks to Susan Katz, the Growth Coach for helping me to realize that it was easier to get the policies out of my head and on paper then it was to expect everyone to be mind-readers.

So while I’ve been missing, it was time well spent.  Look for our next blog on Prospect Rants.

Ready, Fire, Aim: Business Development Strategy in Small Businesses

You wouldn’t shoot a gun and then aim, right? So don’t wait until your business fails to realize that you need a business development strategy.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

The above adage holds true in the small business community. Without direction, a business cannot survive. This is why a well-structured and properly implemented business development strategy is so important to the success of your small business.

What is Business Development?

Business development is the combined process of strategic analysis, marketing, and sales to further the success of your business.  These three sectors must work together to in order for your business to realize the full effects of each. Sales cannot thrive without marketing, which cannot thrive without strategic analysis, and so forth and so on.

Without the right business development strategy, your business simply cannot grow and thrive. Still, countless small business owners acknowledge that they have failed to either implement their business development strategy or that they have failed to ever draft a business development strategy.

So what’s next?

Is it Time to consider Outsourced Business Development?

An outsourced business development firm will design and implement a unique business development plan for your small business to help position your business with the right marketing efforts, develop new business opportunities, generate leads, qualify those leads, analyze sales data, win proposals, and make sales.

Springboard Business Development

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial burden of an in-house business developer.

At Springboard we know sales. Using our resources and expertise, your business can be out developing new opportunities without ever having to be concerned about the time, effort and costs it takes to develop a new sales person.

If you have any questions about Outsourced Business Development and Small Business, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial  burden of an in-house business developer.

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!

Sales as a part of Business Development & Outsourced Sales in Baltimore, MD

Business Development is such an ambiguous term. And it has come to our attention that many individuals do not know exactly what Business Development is or what it entails. The truth is that Business Development is actually a combination of strategic analysis, marketing, and sales.

Last week, we gave you a brief overview of the role of marketing in Business Development. This week, we are going to focus our attention on sales.

Sales and Business Development

The term Business Development was created because each of its three parts – analysis, marketing, and sales – are so intertwined that one cannot thrive without the other. Sales cannot thrive without marketing, which cannot thrive without strategic analysis, and so forth and so on.

As it pertains to sales, Business Development includes many aspects, including:

  • Seeking out new sales markets
  • Forming new sales partnerships with other businesses
  • Finding new ways to reach existing sales markets
  • Generating new sales leads
  • Developing new sales strategies
  • And much more!

Without the right business development (and sales) efforts, your business simply cannot grow and thrive.

Outsourcing Business Development and Sales

If your company does not have the resources to sell efficiently and effectively, then outsource these duties to a Business Development company that can increase your sales and overall revenue.

  • Expert Sales Force: Your outsourced sales team has the experience and knowledge to increase your sales.
  • Dedication: Your Outsourced sales firm does nothing but focus on selling and developing new sales opportunities.
  • Save Money: You will not have to hire or train anyone in-house. This means that you will be saving money while also increasing your revenue.
  • More Time: Outsourcing allows you to go back to doing what you do best – growing your company!

At the end of the day, increasing your revenue is the driving force behind your sales campaign.

If you have any questions about Business Development and Sales, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial  burden of an in-house business developer.

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!