The following article was contributed by: http://sealthedealsuccesskit.com/
Are you creating the opportunities you want? Explore ten keys to tweak your business development efforts to get what you want for your business and for yourself.
Networking: The Speed of Business
”Business moves at the speed of relationships” is a great networking strategy. If you constantly manage your relationship assets, your business will move at a constant speed. However, Networking is not enough! If you are only networking, your client base will grow very slowly. The key is to link networking with marketing and sales activities to form a robust business development plan that is easy to implement while billing time.
Finite Set of Reasons
Nobody NEEDS your services. People need air, water, food, shelter – not your services. Understanding that there are a set number of possible reasons why someone buys the kind of services and products you provide allows you to step aside from the personal attachment to getting clients. Once you know the list, you have more control over your reactions to the process. People buy from you because they: like you, trust you, value the service you provide, want your expertise, have a specific problem that you can help them to solve, and/or trust the person in their life who told them about you.
No One is On the Bench
Business development is not a spectator sport. You have to be in the game, and you must think of everyone else as being in the game with you. None of your interactions with any other human being is ever wasted. Every moment is an opportunity for building relationships, for speaking your vision and personal platform to everyone all the time. Operate from the assumption that everyone wants to help you. This mindset lets you make big, bold, outrageous requests that encourage and invite people to contribute to your growing business.
It’s a Numbers Game
Sales has a process. In order to leverage that process, you must understand the numbers involved. Typically, it takes ten phone calls to reach six people to set up one meeting. It takes ten meetings to get one client. That means we have to call 100 people to get each client. The sales cycle can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 7 years, depending on your circumstances. Your personal hit rates may be different from these numbers, but until you know the numbers, it is easy to get attached to specific outcomes, and to take it personally when you do not get clients. Persistence and resilience are part of this game. Recognizing the numbers game, keep your pipelines fully loaded and create the bench strength you need to continually generate sales.
You’re as Good as Your Weakest Link
Know your limits and learn to leverage your strengths. Have a strategy to counter your known areas of weakness such that they manifest as strength. Perhaps you get into trouble when you operate from a know-it-all perspective during a sales conversation. You can interrupt that pattern by asking questions, seeking input, and becoming interested in the views of others. What is your weak spot, and how can you reframe it?
Helping Professions and the Conflict with Sales
Are you like other helping professionals who sabotage their own efforts by not engaging in prosperity-generating mindsets? To succeed in business, we must think like business people and we must consider ourselves to be the sales executive in our own businesses. If we think of sales as helping others to determine if our services and products would be useful to them or not, we can begin to integrate our commitment to helping with our need to sell. Approach every sales conversation seeking ways to help, with no pitches, no agendas, no attachments to closing. You can feel good about selling if it’s about making a difference with people. Identify your current mindsets about sales and see how you can reframe sales to align with your values.
Asking for What You Want
Closing the deal becomes a non-event if you’ve been listening for the opportunity to ask for what you want. Yes, you have to ask for the “buy”. You have to ask your client to contract with you. You have to ask for the money. However, if you have been selling in your natural style, using an inquiry/curiosity approach to sales, leveraging your experience and personality, having an abundance mentality and a helping mindset, then closing is as effortless as falling off a log. Produce a shift in your money conversation to generate a breakthrough in asking for and getting what you want.
Thinking Big, Playing Big
Leave scarcity thinking behind and start to invent. Without the shackles of thinking small, what’s possible? Can you double your client base? What’s your sales strategy? If the restraints are off…what do you really want? Do you have a law practice or are you building a legal business? How big is a big enough business? Do you have the right team around you to build something that will continue to support you, sustain your continual learning and development, allow you to focus on continual improvement in the areas of customer service and product development? Are you working as much or as little as you wish? Do you love all your clients? If you could have anything in your law practice or business, what would it be? What will it take to get there from here?
Harness the Sales Process
Knowing that sales is a process, respecting the numbers involved, and increasing your awareness of your own sales cycle will allow you to take your business to the next level. In order to work the system, you must be in continual action. It is also critical to understand the distinctions between networking, marketing and sales so that you can track your progress in all three areas. It takes activity in all three domains to produce dollars, clients, and business.
The Power of Rainmaking
As stated in Seal the Deal: The Essential Mindsets for Growing Your Professional Services Business, Successful rainmaking begins with developing your own concept of what result you want from your business development efforts –– you can’t get there if you don’t have a clear idea of where there is. Know where you want to go with your practice and design steps to take it in that direction. The first step for many of us is to perfect a deep understanding of the sales cycle –– and when and how to bring our best targets into it. Key strategies are to zero in on prospective clients you have identified in or through your network and to never, ever fail to ask for referrals. In other words, rainmaking means you are in perpetual business development mode –– continually networking, marketing, and selling.
No matter where you are in your growing business, there will come a time when you wonder what’s next. Choosing which door to open next requires reflection and inquiry. Perhaps the key to opening the next door is one of the ten keys described above?
 Lou Heckler
 Pomerantz, Suzi Seal the Deal: The Essential Mindsets for Growing Your Professional Services Business, HRD Press, 2006. Available now on Amazon. Find out more at www.sealthedealbook.com.