Business Development can be tricky and is far from easy, unless you are a business development robot. It’s not an exact science and you have to find how it works best for you within your industry. Good business development takes confidence and a high rapport, and as a business which has come from the ‘grass roots’, we’ve learnt a lot along the way, and by utilising the wide range of great skills held within Saline Marine, we’ve developed a fantastic client base, and we are confident in what we do. So, we’re giving you our 3 top tips to improve your business development.
These are simple, easy to follow and may blow your mind:
1 – Pick up the Phone
Surprised by quite how simple and undecorated our first tip is? Picking up the phone can be the hardest and most nerve-wracking experience for any newbie in business development, or even someone who has been doing it for years (trust me we know!), and sadly there is never a perfect script to follow, and no two phone calls are ever the same. For this reason, many make the mistake of hiding behind the safety of an email when introducing their companies. The point is – people talk to people. Let your personality through on the phone. Stumbles and small mistakes don’t matter when you can joke about it with the person on the other end; use it as an icebreaker. Ask about their week, talk about upcoming holidays, work, the weather, whatever floats your boat and gets you into the flow of a personable conversation while building rapport. Once the ice is broken, the sales can commence, and it’s far easier when you’re more comfortable with who you’re on the phone to.
2 – Listen
For this one, we like to use the phrase ‘2 ears 1 mouth’. In business development, you’re on the phone to build relationships and gather intelligence. Yes, being able to talk on the phone is essential, but the ability to listen is just as, if not more than doubly important. When making your introductions and asking them about their week, listen to their responses. People love talking about themselves, so stop and let them do the talking. When you move onto the serious part of the conversation (i.e. trying to win business), let them tell you about their projects. Don’t talk over them, save any questions you have for when they’ve finished telling you what they want to tell you. Use your questions to show your interest in what they are saying and build the relationship with your contact. Prompt, listen and listen again.
3 – Make Notes
Possibly the most basic tip so far, but maybe the most overlooked and essential. Making notes allows you to effectively build your relationships over time and increase your knowledge of what’s going on in your industry, which you are able to feedback into your client base. Make brief notes throughout all your conversations, including any name drops, projects or where and when your contact is next going on holiday! This gives you a very easy reminder and reference for your next phone call, and it shows you care, giving away that you are human, and not a business development robot. If you look back on previous notes before your next call, you can ask how their holiday was 2 weeks ago, or how their tendering went when they didn’t have time to chat to you last week. A few months ago, they told you what projects were coming up – ask how they’re going and stay up to date. Keep on top of your notes and use them to update your CRM after every phone call, logging the important points such as ongoing and upcoming projects, allowing you to build relationships far quicker and giving you something to continuously update in terms of valuable intelligence.
These 3 top tips are basic, but they are the essential foundations of any good business development. There is no perfect solution for business development – but there are ideal steps to take, making the job not only easier, but far more efficient. Besides, if we gave too much away – we’d be putting ourselves out of business. So, if you are interested in what we do – get in touch and we may be able to explain a bit more and put our skills into developing your business in the most effective way possible for you!