For those of us who have been in sales since the 90s this rallying cry of Alec Baldwin in Glenngary Glenn Ross became a manifesto of the male model of sales, selling and business development.
And while his character is spot on in the importance of business development; in today’s culture of relationships the harshness of his declaration can be off putting (not to mention the amount of times he drops the “F” bomb)….and I am telling you while the idea of closing creates acid in the stomachs of many people I talk to – I know business development is a tool that is necessary and critical…..every day.
It is MOST important when EVERYTHING is clicking on all cylinders and it seems that there is noooo way you could possibly take on more clients – this is exactly the moment where you need to make sure your systems are in place to “Always Be Cultivating”relationships.
Some of these relationships will be with prospective clients you have met while out and about – having your systems in place to make sure you stay connected and add value to them through your work. Other relationships that need cultivation will be with professional and personal champions and advocates who believe so much in your work in the world – they simply cannot resist telling everyone they know how amazing you and your work is in the world.
When I work with business owners around cash flow efficiency – we start with their sales funnel. Who are they talking to, how many are in the “pipeline” and are they being moved through a process that gets them to “yes”, I am ready to do business.
If cash flow is scarce – business development likely one of the culprits.
Go back and look at your funnel for the past 90 days – if you are not adding high value prospects to your funnel on a daily basis it will show up in a decrease in revenue that could bring you to your knees.
Still not certain how it works? Let’s look at the math:
In an ‘average’ month you have 20 working days (I am only counting Monday-Friday here) – if you make 20 quality connections from all your sources, champions, advocates, strategic alliances, clients, internet optimization, other marketing activities including speaking, book launches and trade shows each month you now have 20 relationships you get to begin developing.
Let’s say as part of your process you want to have a one on one encounter with them, as you know that’s your secret sauce – a 20-30minute conversation around their work. Mathematically I know ½ of these folks won’t be able to connect with you right away. So you connect with 10 people in a high integrity way, add value and leave them BLOWN away with your magnificence and wondering, “hmmmm – how might I work with this genius?”
Of those 10 – 5 come back around and continue through your process and 2 say yes. That means that from this month’s activities you’ve brough in two new clients. Take your “average” client fee – and multiply it by two – there’s your revenue increase for the month.
This doesn’t mean that the others aren’t going to become clients – it just means you need to have your systems in place to love them along a little longer.
You can already see there are at least 25 different variables here to influence these numbers – increase the input, work on your conversions, increase your rates….and yes friends we will talk about ALL of these in good time.
Today though – just get real with yourself – how are you doing in business development? What grade do you give yourself – A for Awesome? D for Damn-it – I’m not doing it? Somewhere in between?
The good news is – you can start today. Course corrections starts with immediate action. Commit to the process and track your progress over the next 30 days – you WILL see the results.
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