THE CLIENT WISDOM BLOG PUBLISHED BY MBT MORE BUSINESS TODAY LLC
My last blog post was about business development don’ts. Thank you for the opportunity to rant a little about the methods and techniques used in sales that annoy me, and most of us. Today is about the opposite. What kinds of approaches to developing relationships that lead to business work?
When I work with clients, nearly all of them express the need to stay true to who they are, to be authentic, in developing relationships that drive business. It takes much longer to develop a strong and lasting relationship than it takes to cash in on a quick sale. Satisfied customers are golden offering repeat sales, positive PR, and word-of-mouth, and straight up referrals. The returns on the time invested in the long run will be greater in every way – financially, emotionally, and socially.
Here are a few do’s, please do, of business development:
- Do remind me how we met. Whether we met at a networking event or were introduced virtually by a mutual acquaintance, make sure to remind me when you reach out. Giving a bit of context warms up the beginning of the relationship and sets the tone for the next steps.
- Do be transparent about your interest in me. When business people get together in a business setting, it should be clear to everyone that business is in the front of our minds. So, why do so many people jump in to act like the relationship is about just about being friends? The simplest way to avoid this is to talk about business at every encounter. For some people, their clients are their friends, and that is ok. Many people prefer to keep the relationships of business separate from friendships. If the potential client is a friend first, suggest a meeting specifically to talk about business so there is no confusion.
- Do ask me what I enjoy before inviting me to an event or sending me a gift. Many organizations purchase tickets to sporting events or cultural events to help their associates develop business. Please ask me whether I want to spend my time with you at one of these events. The same applies to gifts of chocolate or wine or whatever. Make it an open-ended question, “My company has access to tickets to a number of events. What do you enjoy?” It develops a deeper relationship by creating an opportunity to learn more about the individual. You may gain great insight into the operations and values of the business and the person.
- Do follow up with me after I presented a challenge. Many would-be business developers miss the obvious cues. Some are trying so hard not to appear sales-y, they are afraid to offer the help the potential client needs in the moment. If we are having a conversation, and I tell you I have a specific challenge, follow up with me. This is a clear sign of trust and a willingness to work together.
- Do continue the relationship after you get the work. Once I hire you, keep in touch with me. Check in to make sure I am receiving great client service. Getting together to check in, twice each year at least, is a positive way to take the pulse of the services you are delivering and to look for additional ways to help. Survey are good and give you a baseline, but personal connections cannot be dismissed.
Now that all of you have read this, I look forward to healthier and more meaningful emails in my box and encounters at networking events.
For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org