Think about the top business developers you know. If you spend a day in their life, it’s likely you’ll recognize a common theme. They are constantly growing and tending to their prospects.
One way to help differentiate yourself and your firm with prospects is to create and communicate value.
Creating and communicating value with prospects is a strategic network building and business development skill. If it’s not something that comes naturally to you, that’s OK. In this article, I’ll share some concepts that you can put to use.
Your goal is to add value to the conversation in such a way that it makes the prospect remember you and want to continue the conversation. While at the same time positioning your firm’s value.
- Know Your Value Proposition.
Determine how to effectively communicate what you do to your prospects. You can do that by focusing on the results and business benefit– not just the tasks that it takes to get there.
One way to get started with this is to think of a current client. Make a list of the various tasks you do for them. For as many tasks as you can, list out the business value that the task brings to the client.
Then, break it down to your area of expertise and how you specifically contribute to client success.
The business benefit is what makes your firm stand out.
Listening may be the single most important skill in both our business and personal lives. If we’re focused on actively listening and learning from others, it can spur our creativity, help us respond in a way that’s meaningful to them, and ultimately form solid relationships. That leads to business development opportunities.
In today’s culture though, distractions are at an all-time high. As a result, our attention spans are at an all-time low. When we’re supposed to be listening to someone, we’re frequently checking our phone or reviewing all our to-dos in our mind. Other times, we’re listening to respond, rather than to understand. Whatever the reason, most of us have plenty of room to improve our listening skills.
There are some strategies we can use to inspire better conversations with prospects and others in your network.
- When you’re prepared, you can know where to insert more about yourself in a way that adds value. It’s also important to end on a positive note.
- Try wrapping up your conversation with an offer of assistance.
- Ask… “Is there anything I can do to help you right now?” And be ready to follow-up on it.
- Demonstrate Value in a Way That Leaves a Positive and Lasting Impression.
Every interaction with a prospect is an opportunity to add value. Think about some ways you might be able to do this, based on what you learn while you are listening to your prospect.
For example, you can send along a relevant article or other resource. This doesn’t always have to be professionally related – it can be something that they’re personally interested in.
If you promised you would follow up with an item or a call, be sure to follow through. Your word is everything. You can also send a thank you note. It might seem simplistic, but it will stand out. Few people send hand-written notes anymore.
Think about what introductions might make sense. Would your prospect benefit from knowing someone else in your network? If so, build that bridge for them.
Finally, set reminders for future contacts with your prospect. It’s one thing to meet one time and follow-up, but value creation can be more continuous with a follow-up system.
For more strategies to sell more and increase the impact of your business development efforts, read the previous articles in my series for Main Street Practitioner. You can learn how to uncover cross-selling opportunities by leveraging existing client meetings and how to grow your firm with relationship ecosystems.
Amy Franko is a strategic sales expert working with professional services, insurance, and technology organizations to accelerate sales results. She’s a keynote speaker, sales strategist, and author specializing in B2B sales and sales leadership development. With over 20 years of client-facing sales experience, Amy began her career with global companies IBM and Lenovo before pivoting into entrepreneurship. Her book of business includes some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Amy’s book, The Modern Seller, is an Amazon best seller and was also named a 2019 top sales book by Top Sales World. Learn more and download a free chapter at www.amyfranko.com.