Business Development Tip of the Day

Business Development Tip of the Day is a regular feature on my LinkedIn profile page. Visit me there for an updated list of Tips, and to connect.

  • When setting goals, follow these simple rules: 1. your goals should motivate you to succeed, 2. write them down (you are 5 times more likely to follow through on a goal you’ve written down), 3. be specific (answer the five W’s), 4. add a realistic and achievable deadline, 5. write down three actions/steps that will get you to success, 6. review your goals every week and alter if necessary. If you don’t meet a deadline, don’t give up, just start again!
  • Your clients can be your best marketers. Word-of-mouth marketing is 100 times more effective than advertising. Be careful though, because that’s also true for negative reviews!
  • Review and update your list of contacts at least once every quarter.
  • Seventy-three percent of people never follow up on a potential business lead. If you’re serious about your success, be one of the 27% who do.
  • You don’t need a formal program to ask your clients for feedback on your performance. At minimum, you should look for their input once you’ve completed a piece of work for them.
  • Accessibility matters. If you are not going to be accessible to your clients (or co-workers and referral sources) someone else will be.
  • Networking isn’t about collecting business cards, it’s about people helping people. You’re a powerful networker when you connect members within your network.
  • Successful business people help clients make money, save money, sleep better, and/or look better in front of others.
  • Never underestimate your competitor’s determination in keeping their clients and taking yours.
  • Be Prepared. Before meeting with a client or prospect, do your homework. Read their bio, Google the latest news on their business or industry, then prepare 4 or 5 intelligent questions to ask them. The goal is to give you a better understanding of their pain points and where you can help.
  • The 80/20 Rule says that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your existing clients. You should be spending 80% of your time and resources servicing those clients with the goal to increasing the work you do with them. The other 20% of your time and resources can go toward developing business from new clients.
  • If you spend the majority of your day dealing with what’s ‘urgent’ rather than what’s ‘important’, it’s time to rethink your definitions of urgent and important; how you delegate work; and how you can improve your time management skills.
  • Keep your online profile current. At least once a quarter, review your bio to make sure it includes your most recent experience, writing and speaking engagements, and education. You never know who’s looking at hiring you for a certain skill set or when you’ll need to send it to a prospect in a pinch.
  • Own a problem. It does neither party any good to lay blame on a client when something goes wrong. Assume responsibility and focus on solving the problem. When it’s solved, meet with the client and together work out a ‘what could we have done better’ approach that can be applied to future challenges.
  • Professional Services are bought, not sold.
  • Make the most of a work-related social event. Before going, think about who you want to speak with, 4 questions about their business to ask them, and then seek them out once you arrive.
  • How you approach your work day can be categorized in three ways: Situations you can control, situations you can influence, and situations where you can’t do either. With this knowledge how will you approach your next task?
  • Know your client’s business like you know your own. Ask them about their people, their operations, and their market(s). For a comprehensive list of questions to ask your client, contact me.
  • Look people in the eye when you’re meeting with them. Do not get distracted by what’s happening on your smartphone. When/if you have to cut a conversation short, graciously excuse yourself, but make sure people feel like they are as important as what is going on around you.
  • Be a team player. Share your contacts and experience with others in your company, and learn about their particular expertise. Cross-selling to existing clients is much more effective at developing new business than trying to get your foot in the door with a non-client.
  • Take the time to think about and identify situations/conditions that create a demand for your business. This will help you more quickly recognize opportunities and potential clients.
  • Under promise and over deliver. Clients will always appreciate you going the extra mile and exceeding their expectations. Just don’t charge them for it, unless you’ve had that discussion prior to doing the work.
  • Remember that HOW the service is provided is often more important than the service itself. What can you do to make your customer’s experience exceptional?