Springtime: the time of year for growth and renewal. Springtime falls in the middle of the second calendar year quarter. If you are responsible for business development for your organization, then your “growth and renewal” period started officially January 1. However, your strategy for growth and renewal should begin 12 months earlier than when needed.
If you want to grow a business garden that’s varied, educational, and self-renewing, here are 3 Tips for you.
- Think ABD instead of ABC. Always be Developing, instead of Closing. Till the soil. Buyers may not be ready to buy; however, they are always in need of development. Your network also needs development. The Contact you meet today may refer you – without your knowing about it – to someone who might become your best strategic customer. Attend meetings and networking events that are educational and relevant to your own business development needs. Seek out meetings and networking events that your target markets attend, not your sales buddies. Move 1 millimeter outside of your current comfort level. Grow yourself and develop your business at the same time.
- Fertilize and cross-pollinate your brain and your customer base. The most robust species have the capacity to adapt and be flexible across a range of environmental factors. While I’m not suggesting you become all things to all people, think about the common denominators – common themes and issues -occurring across multiple business segments. Remain open to creating discussions which pull information and experience you’ve gained in working with companies in one segment, into another segment. This ability not only allows you to grow your own knowledge base for thought-leadership, but also provides you with the tools to begin provocative and relevant dialogues with customers in different industry segments who might have more in common than they think. You may find yourself in the position of brokering deals with multiple vendor-customers, instead of simply selling your – or your employer’s – stuff.
- Weed your garden frequently. If your customer base is loaded with anyone who you can get to do business with you, err on the side of quality instead of quantity. Review your customers, and your targeted prospects, each month. You should always have a plan for your business development garden. What types of customers, what types of contracts, what types of projects? If there are customers in your garden who take up all of your time reinventing a non-lucrative wheel, or who are not the types of folks you do your best work for, consider pruning backyour commitments to them. Weed out the low-hanging fruit which may never grow into long term, loyal customers and advocates. Make the best use of your time, and that of your customers, by selecting the right types of folks to work with, in your well-planned business garden.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo back into small and mid-sized businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. She builds vibrant revenue-producing business strategies for technical start-ups seeking investors and early customers. Download her newest White Paper by clicking here at the Free Resources Page.