Working smart starts with planning. You may have heard of the sentence “failing to plan, is planning to fail”. It’s true. Planning means you know who to target, when, how much time it will take. You know which potential and current clients will have the biggest positive impact on your bottom line. You know each opportunity and its worth. Because of this exceptional planning, you easily prioritise the most profitable clients and focus on how you can engage with and bring them value.
The best Business Development people carve off time for growth of the business. They remove distractions. They make time to research bigger potentials. They know what approach to take and have practiced and refined what questions to ask and what compelling solution(s) they can put forward. They plan days, weeks and months ahead. They are organised and tidy. My favourite mantra is the ‘energy & effort versus outcome’ formula. We only have so many hours in the day, the smart cookies prioritise so they are ultra-efficient and able to reach more of the right people.
Often, we are in sales because we like people, and like people interaction. This in turn can lead to us to not being selective enough with our focus or delegating an activity better handled by someone else. We can end up racing around after every little distraction ‘just getting things done’ or chasing and over- servicing the “rats and mice” clients. Sometimes we even feel we ‘own’ the client. We can spend too much attention on the wrong clients not leaving us enough time, bandwidth and energy for the larger or more profitable clients.
For Account Managers, handling larger clients, you need to be constantly curious, asking questions so that you can understand how they have evolved (something they said ‘no’ to four months ago may now be relevant, or they may now be more informed on it, or now it’s become priority’). We often think we ‘know’ the client. Take a deep breath before each client engagement, and if your internal chatter says ‘I know them and what they want’ take a brick wall and your head and connect them. You are blinded to new opportunities. When you re-read your notes say to yourself ‘that was my opinion of what I thought they wanted before, which may or may not be correct anymore and may not bear any resemblance to what they want now. Basically, avoid the “assumption vortex’.
What to do
Become the most organised person you know. Be aware of where you are putting your energy and effort.
Read: more about Business Development in “Be Aware of your Value” >>>>
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Smarter Selling is sales and mindset coaching for high performing leaders and teams