Focus on Client Development

Dec 23, 2009

One of the most common mistakes we all make is to fail to prospect on a regular basis. Your actions are priceless and as a result, we are the recipients of irregular revenues and inconsistent fees or commissions.

This happens when we’re extremely frustrated or engaged with following many hot leads, and prospects who demand lengthy proposals, multiple meetings, conference calls, presentations, and references. It is this time when we need to be out there prospecting and focusing the key activities that produce new clients to ensure that a steady sales flow doesn’t suddenly disappear.

If you want to harness your organization to add more value, and engage with clients who are steadily reducing the number of firms that they are willing to do business with, aspire to the next level, which is trusted partner.

Tips for developing new clients:

  • Do not fall into the trap of just doing twice as many proposals and presentations. Remember that you’re increasing activity to find more qualified prospects. Don’t waste resources giving proposals and presentations to buyers who aren’t ready to buy.
  • Remember to use multiple prospecting techniques. Some will yield a high return, some a little, and some not at all. You cannot count on a “one size fits all” approach to sales, or a 100% close rate in sales.
  • Turbo charging your activity means you must get organized, set priorities, and stop letting email and other distractions manage your day. It also means that you spend time making contact with prospects when they’re available and keep proposals and recordkeeping at night or at other nonproductive times.
  • Increase the effectiveness of your presentation skills to deliver a great performance so you will be more memorable and separate you from your competitors.
  • Bring value and credibility by doing your research about your prospective customer’s business and marketplace.

Top professionals know that prospecting is the key to selling. My list of top 8 strategy ideas for this economy includes:

  1. Calling customers you have not heard from in six months or more.
  2. Sending out a regular email newsletter.
  3. Building and writing a blog. This may be time-consuming, however, it creates a way to connect with new users on your own website. Create useful contents such industry insights or how-to’s that keep prospects engaged and ultimately coming back.
  4. Cold calls/voice mail messages. The average number of calling contact attempts before you actually connect with a prospect is 10 according to Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies. Your business contacts are busier than ever in this economy, and typically can’t handle one more thing on their schedule. So, your call should be a worthwhile interruption. Leaving a “gracious message” does not work. She suggests creating a script that will entice the “delete happy group” you’re trying to connect with. This means you must pay the price of admission and show that you have done your homework or research (looked at their website and report a result and call to action on your part, describe a success story that relates to the client’s industry), watch your language (avoid self-promotion, puffery, or arrogance), lead them to temptation, sound like a peer, and pique their curiosity. She even suggests leaving out your company name when you leave a voicemail message.
  5. Leveraging media and new online technology using social networks as ready-made markets. Embrace Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook as part of your business-prospecting strategy.
  6. Asking for direct referrals and introduction to prospective clients using your LinkedIn network.
  7. Attending networking events, seminars, trade shows and conferences.
  8. Offering a free white paper or eBook on your website.
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