Business Development Training: Follow Up Business Opportunities

Consider the scenario of a business networking event. These are superb sources of leads and referrals that can be the life blood of your business. The business skills you develop in this arena can easily be applied in any business scenario. Assume you have engaged in conversation with a good potential contact. Once you have created a positive first impression start the interesting chat about various areas of common ground. By careful listening, you may identify an opportunity to do some business to your mutual benefit at some later date. You are looking for the moment when someone says something to you to make you think, “Ahaa, there’s a potential business opportunity here.” Suppose you are a business development consultant who specialises in the food industry and who has a good track record in helping companies to increase their margins. If you were asking all the right questions such as “So how you finding things at the moment?”, and you hear the answer “We’re doing reasonably well but we don’t seem to be getting the efficiencies in the factory.” That is an Ahaa moment.

Can I mention again, that networking using business development skills isn’t selling; it’s building business relationships, and gathering business information?

This should be the start of the follow up business development process which is as follows

1. Ask for their business card and read it carefully.

2. Always find something to comment on; maybe the spelling of their name or perhaps they have their business in a particular part of town which you know intimately. It doesn’t matter as long as you show them that you are interested in them, their business and their circumstances.

3. Now this is a key moment. Ask if you can phone them next Wednesday or Thursday to discuss the problem they have with their margins. You can say something like “Now isn’t the time or place, but maybe your problem is a simple issue which I can give you some help on”. The chances are if you have made the right impression, the answer will be “yes”.

4. Bear in mind all the time that if you don’t ask the question then you don’t give the other person, with the business opportunity, a chance to say yes.. You will be at your most popular at this juncture. If you have done it all right, are you really going to waste a great opportunity? Not every business event and not every person you meet is going to turn into a business opportunity but if you are awake alive and alert, listening attentively and with empathy… you just never know.

5. Write down on their business card the day you have agreed to call and let them see you do this. This shows that you are serious and the chances are you’re likely to do it. At this point, there is no reason whatsoever not to excuse yourself in one of several ways which we will show you another time.

6. As part of the bridging process ensure that when you get back home or to your office or even before you leave the business networking event write down where and when you met the person a quick description of them and any salient facts which you may use at a future date to show them that you are truly listening to what they had to say.

7. When you make the follow up call as agreed, review the business card or refer to your business development software if you use it and confirm that they were happy for you to follow up. If you had picked up that the person was going away for weekend then make sure that one of the questions you ask is “How did the weekend go?” I’m not asking you to remember these details. What I am doing is asking you to write down some small talk facts that you gathered on their business card. It helps break down their barriers to talking about business.
When I ask my audiences “what is the most important thing with regard to business cards?” the normal answer I get is “make sure you carry plenty of them with you”. Of course you know now that the most important thing is to ask for theirs. Offer your business card by all means, but don’t be too quick to do this. I think it’s a little pushy and it’s another form of saying “aha you want to know all about me don’t you. Here’s my business card”. It just may be that they don’t want to know all about you … not at that moment anyway. There’s a lot more to say about business development training and in particular working the room but you can find out about that on my other articles.
Take note that business development and networking is about giving first and receiving second. If you go into it thinking “What’s in it for me and what am I going to get out of this tonight” then the chances are you won’t succeed. If you ask questions such as

· “How can I help you?”

· “Who would you like me to introduce you to?”

· “How will I know if someone I’m talking to will be a good introduction for you?”

You will be showing them you are a proficient and skilled business networker.

Dr. Albert Scweizer once said “Give without remembering and receive without forgetting”. That should stand you in good stead when you’re out there looking to create new business opportunities.

Sign Business Develops Entrepreneurs in the Computer-Aided Signmaking Industry

Sign Biz, Inc. was founded in 1989 by Teresa Young who established the business during a time when sign companies were neither retail-oriented nor computer-driven operations. Young, who anticipated the industry shift to B-to-B visual communications, opened the retail sign store concentrating on vinyl graphics and watched the industry grow into a broad advertising medium driven by computer-aided signmaking (CAS) able to offer unlimited design options for all size businesses.

By leveraging the latest technology, the CAS industry continues to grow at a rate of approximately 13% each year with companies becoming increasingly able to fulfill even the largest sign orders, including those for Fortune 500 companies. “This is a huge industry that affords almost limitless niche development – from wall murals and vehicle wraps, to gorgeous 3-dimensional branding elements and lobby video signs. Nearly everyone can find a specialty that is thrilling and profitable,” explained Young.

Today, Sign Biz has grown into the largest non-franchised retail sign chain with a network of nearly 200 store owners and is the only full-service business development company in the industry that requires no franchise fees or royalties from its store owners unlike its franchise counterparts.

According to Sign Biz, Inc. VP of Business Development, Greg Salzano, the company’s business development program provides complete training, equipment and support with an “evergreen” agreement for the life of the business. “Our non-royalty program, when combined with the lifetime of support, personalized training and comprehensive equipment package truly allows Sign Biz Network Members to be an entrepreneur, yet have the support structure available as they need it,” said Salzano.

Young believes that good prospects for joining the Sign Biz network are entrepreneurs willing to apply the company’s business model, and who also possess a positive outlook when trying new things. “We guide every new business owner through their first hire, their store design, their logo and branding elements. It is a partnership, so we look for those who want a strong partnership experience in a dynamic industry,” said Young.

“We believe Sign Biz will continue to be on cutting edge when it comes to new offerings in the signage industry. We were the first sign chain to add Large Format Digital Print equipment into our package in the 1990’s, as well as the first to add Electronic Digital Signage in 2007. Our Network will continue to grow via both new shops and new technology in a market that is nowhere near saturation,” said Salzano.

According to Salzano, new Sign Biz Network Members can be up and running within 75 to 120 days including a 30-day training period.

For more information: http://www.franchisegator.com/Sign-Biz-opportunity/

Coaches And Consultants – Are You Making Any Of These Twenty Business Development Blunders?

Professionals who market their services can attract more clients by avoiding the following deadly business development mistakes:

ERROR #1: Talking about specialized knowledge more than about solutions.

ALTERNATIVE: Speak your client’s language. Show him or her how you will get specific results that will help their organization, career, or personal aspirations. Demonstrate your ability to provide significant value, in specific, measurable ways.

ERROR #2: Focusing on you instead of on the prospect.

Prospects care first and foremost about solving their problems and taking advantage of their opportunities. Therefore, they only care about you if your experience and knowledge directly and uniquely relates to solving their problem.

ALTERNATIVE: Focus on the prospect’s problems and opportunities. Build credibility and demonstrate value by establishing yourself as the expert who understands the prospect’s situation and ways to get results. Make sure you use the word “You” at least twice as much as you use the words “I/We” when you speak to prospects.

ERROR #3: Letting your achievements or expertise speak for itself.

This is a huge mistake. You may be brilliant, but that doesn’t mean clients will come to you.

ALTERNATIVE: Invest in business development. Reach out to prospects in ways that builds your credibility. For instance, provide education and information that matters to them, and also shows the value you offer.

ERROR #4: Not choosing a specific niche or target market.

This will give you the false security of having unlimited prospects, but ultimately will get you fewer clients at higher cost than if you focus.

ALTERNATIVE: Focus on a specific target market.

ERROR #5: Not reaching your target market effectively.

ALTERNATIVE: Develop a series of messages and strategies that reaches and attracts prospects from your target market.

ERROR #6: Not dominating your target market.

If you don’t dominate, someone else will, and your revenue will suffer.

ALTERNATIVE: Position yourself as the leader by establishing your credibility and authority with prospects. If you can’t be the leader, find or define a new niche.

ERROR #7: Creating an incomplete or non-compelling marketing message.

With a poor message, your business development efforts will go nowhere.

ALTERNATIVE: Develop a complete, compelling marketing message that describes the problem you solve for your market, how you solve it, the specific results you have achieved, and why you are better than anybody else. Be especially sure to highlight your “edge” and why it matters to your prospects/clients.

ERROR #8: Trying to “close the sale” too soon.

Most prospects, especially in the market for professional services, need a series of positive interactions with a candidate before making a decision.

ALTERNATIVE: Provide a series of educational messages to establish credibility and attract qualified prospects to you. Get rid of the tacky “sales pitch,” and follow up with prospects in ways that demonstrate your value. This will establish you as the authority in your field, lead to more sole source deals, and earn loyal clients.

ERROR #9: Making poor use of publicity.

Getting mentioned in the news is an exercise in vanity if it doesn’t grow your company.

ALTERNATIVE: Use publicity to attract prospects to your business, capture their information, and build a relationship with them.

ERROR #10: Not asking for referrals.

Few professionals take full advantage of their opportunity to generate referrals.

ALTERNATIVE: Ask for referrals at key times in the client relationship. Develop proactive referral strategies within your sphere of influence.

ERROR #11: Relying too much on referrals.

Referrals are a fine source of additional business, but they put you in the position of being dependent on others.

ALTERNATIVE: Make sure your marketing strategy includes tactics to attract requests and inquiries directly from prospects, clients and your sphere of influence.

ERROR #12: Competing on price.

This error is a sure way to lack enough high-paying clients to meet your financial goals.

ALTERNATIVE: When prospects perceive you to be the authority in the field, you no longer need to compete on price.

ERROR #13: Forgetting to stay in touch with past clients.

Remember the old adage, “Out of site, out of mind.” You forfeit one of the best sources of profitable work if you forget to stay in touch with, and continue to support, past clients.

ALTERNATIVE: Develop a plan to strengthen your relationships with past clients, maintain their loyalty, and continue to show how you can provide them with ongoing value.

ERROR #14: Providing poor or mediocre service during engagements.

Word spreads fast when you do this, and can quickly destroy your reputation.

ALTERNATIVE: Develop a system to delight clients on every engagement.

ERROR #15: Cutting or delaying your investment in business development, especially in bad times.

This error will only hurt your bottom line more.

ALTERNATIVE: Commit to investing in business development. There are plenty of low-cost ways to attract clients in good times and bad.

ERROR #16: Not creating a simple, clear business development plan that lays out goals and a way to achieve them.

If you don’t set goals, how will you know if you are successful?

ALTERNATIVE: Create a plan every quarter that sets aggressive goals and lays out a path to accomplish them.

ERROR #17: Creating a business development plan that misses some crucial steps in the process of attracting and retaining clients.

Your plan must establish yourself as a credible authority, demonstrate your value to prospects, earn trust and commitment, and keep your clients’ loyalty.

ALTERNATIVE: Evaluate how well your business development plan achieves these outcomes, and revise it accordingly.

ERROR #18: Not taking action on your business development plan.

ALTERNATIVE: Make business development a top priority. Budget time as if you were your own client. One of your primary jobs is business development because if you don’t do that, you won’t be doing much consulting.

ERROR #19: Relegating marketing to an administrative role.

ALTERNATIVE: Marketing should be a core part of your strategy, and handled at the top levels of your organization.

ERROR #20: Not getting help.

Many professionals tend to want to do it all on their own. In business development, this can cause them to repeat common marketing mistakes and get poor results.

ALTERNATIVE: Hire competent professionals who can help you build your business. The investment will more than return itself in results.

I sincerely hope you don’t make these, or other costly mistakes. The market is extremely competitive, filled with professionals who are struggling to attract clients.

Business Developer Resume Cover Letter Example

This is an example of a cover letter. Use this as a template and for ideas and inspiration, do not just copy it word for word. Before you can use this example you will need to replace all the dates, all the names and all the addresses. Add your contact details to the header or footer of the document. Remember to include keywords for the position you are applying for. Try to find a comeback in the company that is responsible for human management and address the application to him or her. Good luck in your job hunt!

January 1, 2009

Mr. Example Name
Human Resources Manager
Company Name
111 Street
City, State 90111

Dear Mr. Name

As a skilled business development manager with an outstanding background in successful technology and satellite communications sales projects, I’m seeking to align myself with a progressive company poised for strong growth and market expansion. With extensive experience working with talented sales teams, meeting aggressive revenue targets, and delivering first-class sales solutions, I’m confident that I can help your company meet the challenges that you now face.

Capitalizing on my success at example global corporation and OO&L Network Systems, I am seeking a professional opportunity to leverage my exceptional sales record and proven account management skills to benefit your company as well as your clients. With both practical experience and demonstrated success, I have the drive and the talent to quickly become one of your top performers.

With this goal in mind, I have attached a resume outlining my qualifications. Some of my key strengths and qualifications include.

> At Example Global Corp., successfully designed and developed a new unit for broadband IP products and services, resulting in more than $14 million in first quarter revenues.

> Skilled communicator, instructor and project leader with the flexibility and experience required to adjust to rapidly changing schedules, frequently shifting priorities, and high-pressure settings.

> Extensive experience with large-scale business clients, providing high-level support, building critical business relationships, addressing the long and short term needs of the customer.

> The ability to enter new environments and begin to produce clear cut results right from the start with diverse sales management and technical skills that are easily transported between different industries and varied working environments.

Given my strategic business development accomplishments and invaluable expertise, I would like an opportunity to discuss the value I can bring your organization. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to meeting with you.

Sincerely,

SIGNATURE

Your Name