I was well into a follow-up call with a buyer for an international firm when the question came: “So, what does your company do best?”
In some ways, I was glad he wanted to narrow our conversation to specific service lines, so he
could funnel the right opportunities. However, I wanted to be sure not to miss out on an opportunity to showcase the variety of services we offer. By mentioning one particular service, that could cause the others to be discounted or forgotten. We may be remembered for only one area instead of the integrated marketing agency that we are.
Prospects sometimes desire, or need, to focus on just one area of business at the expense of others. But that’s not the only barrier to growing business today. How about competitors who low-ball? Prospects who keep asking for quotes but won’t commit? Or the “slow no”?
If you’re interested in how to take a prospective client to a current client, try these tips for developing your business relationship:
- Understand your prospect. That means talking to them. Don’t rely on just email, social media or proposal requests. Get to know their goals, targets and barriers. What are their competitors doing well – and not so well? If you can offer new solutions – the “big idea” – you’ll be far more valuable than another firm’s low-priced proposal.
- Customize. Once you have a deep understanding of your prospect, offer solutions that are personalized to their needs, point by point. You’ll impress them with your knowledge of their pain points.
- Don’t sell. Develop a relationship instead – one that doesn’t have expectations attached. Are you wasting your time if you never get a sale? Not if you have the right motives. One relationship leads to another – and to referrals down the road. So, focus on the relationship, not just the sale.
- Don’t expect to sell fast. Relationships take time. If you’re looking for a quick sale, you’re probably not looking for a lasting relationship. One friend’s firm earned agency of record for a large health system and that relationship lasted 22 years. This shows it was worth the time it took to develop the relationship and build trust it takes to maintain the business.
- Take little bites. Chip away at the “slow no” or commitment phobia by asking for a smaller project to test your value. Then, price it right and track results in detail. Prove your value.
- Be authentic. Above all, have integrity. Be a truth-teller. Be honest. Your prospect will find this refreshing and, sometimes, the very reason to give your firm a shot. Be willing to walk away if you can’t be truthful.
We hope these tips help you in your business development. If you are interested in learning more about the services that we offer to help your build relationships while growing your business with clients, customer and other businesses, contact us today!