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Archive for November, 2011

1. Talk to Strangers

Openness, honesty and strong self-belief will get you far in your personal and business life. Fear of
rejection is one of the biggest blocks to selling yourself and your business
but in any industry people buy people. There’s no need for a hard sell, just be
yourself, be proud of what you stand for and take every opportunity that arises
to make connections.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

With a new connection you may want to over promise as you’re keen to impress, but under-delivering not only
leads to losing business but it can also affect your reputation. A sustained consistent, persistent approach, where you achieve what you have agreed to do in the timeline stated will demonstrate your expertise and help you to stand
out amongst your competition.

3. Show, Don’t Tell

Talking about your selling points will only get you so far and at some point, metaphorically speaking, the dog is
going to want to see the rabbit. By walking your talk you have already qualified your expertise without the need for any hard sell. If you’re a web
expert, have a blinding website. Get the picture?

4. Know Who You Are and What Makes You Different

What makes you different from your competitors, and what does this mean for your potential clients? Drill down into exactly what the benefit would be to your prospect of using your services. Understand and believe in yourself, and don’t try and be someone you’re not. You should aim to attract like-minded clients – don’t be afraid of turning away business because you can’t work with everybody!

5. It’s All in the Timing

We know you want those successful connections and you want them yesterday. You need to take an intelligent and sustained approach to relationship building. The quick hard-sell can alienate your contacts whereas a well-executed and measured approach doesn’t force or scream desperation and is more likely to yield outstanding results.

6. Sales and Marketing Needs to be Fully Integrated

This can be difficult when the two departments are treated as entirely separate entities, but an integrated sales and marketing strategy means that the sales department can maximise leads resulting from a marketing campaign. Any that aren’t at the right stage in the sales cycle can be handed back to the marketing department for lead nurturing until the time is right.

7. Look At Your Current Clients for New Business Opportunities

Everyone knows it’s more costly to attract new clients that it is to retain existing ones, so seek to actively build stronger relationships and explore new ways of working together in order to maximise the potential of your current client pool.

8. Be Personal

You’ll win more business if you tailor your approach to each specific prospect. People like to feel special and if you’ve taken the time to do a little research into their business and challenges, you’ll give the impression that you really want to work with them rather than making it look like the prospect is just one of many you’ve approached that day.

9. Don’t Be Arrogant

No one likes a show off, so don’t beat your chest and yell from the tree tops about how great you are. Would you rather spend time with the person shouting out their attributes or the person taking an active interest in you?

Understanding your audience means you can you can better engage and interest them, so give your prospects a compelling reason to use your services by showing them how you helped similar clients with their business challenges.

In short, make it all about your prospects rather than all about you.

10. Make The Time to Win New Business

Winning new business can take time and a lot of hard work; it’s not something that can be done effectively in a half-hearted manner. Make sure that all parts of your business are bought in to the need to win new business and know what is expected of them.

There is nothing worse than doing the hard work of identifying an opportunity only to let it slip out of your grasp because one of your departments or people doesn’t have the time to produce something that you need to convert the business. We’ve seen this sorry situation far too many times!!!

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When an agency embarks on New Business Development they address their business plan, look over their target forecasts, discuss their ideal position in the market then implement the appropriate strategy to achieve those targets. It’s a lengthy process and requires commitment from not just the Managing Director but the whole team to ensure the business plan is clear and that everybody is aiming for the same goals. NBD is a rewarding part of your business, or so it should be.

Once you’ve committed you’re in it for the long haul to essentially ensure the success of your agency. Prospecting and insight gathering is a lengthy process. The problem is that everybody is desperate for new business, which means clients side marketers are inundated by cold calls, emails and direct mail, most of which are impersonal, arrogant and irrelevant, making it harder than ever before to get through to the decision makers. They’re crying out for specialist understanding of their business, personalised emails that go further than ‘Hi Steve’ and the all-important WIIFM (what’s in it for me) rule.

The Golden Rule: Remember it’s the person you’re talking to that’s important. Not you.

Sadly agencies seem to be looking for a quick fix. They don’t seem to realise how much work is required in-house to provide the right level of engagement that the prospects are waiting for. Why don’t they want to spend time building and nurturing relationships that will eventually lead to fruitful new business?

It comes down to ROI, time is money. NBD is time-consuming and to win new business you need the time to complete the in-house production that’s required, which means taking staff off client work or hiring new staff to focus on growth. So initially a lot of spending without any guaranteed return, but that’s the reality. What may seem like a financial risk in the first instance will more than pay off, if you prioritise and devote the time needed to convert opportunities.

We all know agencies that are great at winning new business but don’t spend the time nurturing the relationship in order to keep that business. In the same breath we all know agencies that have long-lasting relationships with clients but aren’t getting much in the way of new business. How do you devote your time to keep the balance right between them both?

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