When trying to simplify the complex I tend to group ideas together, because this allows me to see the similarities and connections between things. There are fundamentals in how things work. To notice and address these fundamental structures is key to excel in any domain.
In the domain of New Business Development and acquiring “New Customers” there are fundamentals as well. This post attempts to anchor in these fundamentals and give you some broad paint brush strokes of guidance to help you think through your process to win new business and see if you are addressing these fundamentals.
The 3 Steps to winning new business at a fundamental level are the following …
- Think Leverage
– Leverage your expertise and mastery by creating good content
– Leverage your relationships to get to your ideal customer quickly
- Build Trust
– So you can ask really good questions
– So your customers feel comfortable talking about their problems
- Develop Solutions Together and Transact
– Collaborate and help your customers solve problems
– Negotiate effectively, so both parties win
Let’s break these down further, as there are numerous tasks in each of these steps involve teams of people. Let’s not, even for a moment think otherwise.
The market is way too competitive for you to not be thinking about what you can leverage. Here are some questions to help you think through this strategy …
- Do you have experts on staff that might have a public identity?
- Do you have meaningful content that you can share with your customers?
- Is your corporate brand strong with your key demographics?
- Do you have relationships with you partners and vendors that you can partner with to collaborate help their customers?
Customers will not share anything with you until they trust you. Use leverage to build this trust. The deeper they trust and respect you, the more they will share their problems and strategic initiatives with you. Once you have this trust, use it to get closer to your customers problems.
- Ask to meet with the right people on their team
- Ask them to share information on specific aspects of their business
- Ask if they have identified any specific problems (initiatives)
- Demostrate leadership and collaborate around potential outcomes
DEVELOP SOLUTIONS TOGETHER AND TRANSACT
Now that you have access to strategic initiatives that your customers want to address and they are sharing details with you, it’s time to get your deal team engaged and begin collaborating around a solution that makes sense.
- Get specific and ground your experiences to solve their business problems
- Collaborate and collectively agree on the outcome they think will work
- Structure the deal in ways that work for their business model & practices
- Work within their budget and budgetary cycles
Nobody appreciates a hard sell and will not tolerate it today. You transact and come to agreements by getting to a place of collaboration where you jointly design a solution that will fit in their budget, meet their guidelines and business requirements. If you do this you will follow the practices of the Assumptive Closing Technique. To do this well, you must check in with your customer along the way and qualify the opportunity as you are collaborating, so you have an accurate sense of their timelines, buying process and decision making practices.
It takes team work to sell today, no longer can a high powered sales rep work his list of contacts and bring in a deal single handedly. That can happen, but it will not be sustainable enough for the company to attain their growth numbers. You have to develop a way to attract and retain new customers and this model will work for that. Think leverage, build trust and collaborate on the solutions you design and develop in conjunction with your customers. Go beyond the solution and make it collaborative, become an integral part of their business. I wrote about going beyond the solution in this article … The Market Has Changed … Again!