How do you become a successful business developer and what do you need? First of all, successful business developers all have the following five properties:
1) They never give up.
2) They can handle a rejection perfectly and learn from their mistakes.
3) They always want to win and can’t cope well with their loss.
4) They don’t have to be über-social, but they do have a good conversation.
5) They enjoy being in the spotlight.
If you have at least three of these five characteristics, chances are you can become a good business developer.
Have you recently started working in business development and want to know how to increase the number of leads (potential customers)? Then you always have to use various communication channels to make your reach as wide as possible. Even though you are in a start-up position, in which one expects mainly telephone acquisition of you.
Relying on only one communication channel doesn’t work, but my “multidimensional channel technique” always works! It works because you can also reach several contacts and customers who, for example, refuse to answer the phone, or not answer your emails.
Here are six communication channels that you need to use independently:
1) Phone: This is a proven means to speak directly to the right target group. It can be very effective, provided you get the right person directly on the line, or are lucky enough to be connected directly. However, the problem is that many people no longer answer their phone, as you can read in this article about cold calling. Especially if they don’t remember the pitch line. Therefore, the phone is especially suitable if a callback appointment has been made, or if you already know the direct (mobile) number of the person you want to speak to.
2) Email: Email works especially well to send additional information about which you are calling, or to confirm something. I recommend email especially in combination with the phone. Together they are very powerful and complement each other perfectly. If you don’t get someone on the phone, you can make this known in an email and indicate what you called for. After a phone call, you can share more relevant information via email. You can also use email to appeal and write to as many people as possible with a unique message, that you would like to speak to them in person and ask them when it is best. Then you use the phone again for a targeted appointment and face-to-face conversation. This way, you’ll have well-qualified leads at your fingertips!
3) Social media: If you can’t reach your interlocutor by email or phone, I recommend social media. Initially via LinkedIn, because one still reads the so-called “InMails”, while emails are often ignored or filtered. Via LinkedIn you can find the right employees and job titles very specifically. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you automatically get similar profiles presented to other companies. It’s important not to keep searching endlessly on LinkedIn. You have to keep creating a continuous stream of direct contact moments. Still can’t get in touch with a person via email, phone and LinkedIn? Then you can also give it a try at an event.
4) Event: Try to find out which events your target audience is visiting. Google their name and see which guest lists they appear on. At events, such as fairs and conferences, your target group is free to walk around and you can easily appeal to them. But for the sake of time, it’s important to know for sure where and when your target audience will participate. Some events have thousands of guests! A good medium to make contact with prior to an event can be Twitter, for example. Search the hashtag of the event and you will find interested people. See if you can pique their interest in advance, by asking them an open question about a relevant trend. Also ask the event organiser for help, on how best to get in touch with your target group. Most of the time, they’re willing to help you. Especially if you also threaten a little bit…. “That otherwise you will not participate in the next event”. Or that “a potential sponsorship deal for the next event will not go through”.
5) Reference: Try contacting a colleague of your target group by phone. Often these people are easier to reach by phone. Think of the buyer, for example, or someone from the CIO’s IT Team who wants to talk to you. Explain why you’d like to speak to that specific person and ask if he can help you with an introduction. If your message is strong enough and offers sufficient added value, that person will certainly want to help you. He can also prove himself that he has discovered that added value himself and has thus found an opportunity for the company. That way, he can score bonus points internally. So tell your message to someone else and try to convince them in a cunning way. Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction to your ideal interlocutor.
6) Whitepaper downloads/newsletter: This concerns anyone who has signed up for an online newsletter or to download a white paper. Most of the time you have had to leave your contact details. In any case, an email address and in some cases a phone number. This is a great opportunity to approach new customers! Such white papers and fact sheets can be spread extremely well on LinkedIn and your own website. The people who download the white paper are basically all interested and already prequalified! Both the newsletter and the white papers are very suitable for building your own address file and for building a personal business network. After some time you can call or email them and ask what they thought of the article. Ask them what interested them the most and if they want to make an appointment!
By far the most effective business development method is to approach customers with relevant “use cases”. These are concrete examples of real-world problems that have been solved by your company. Situations that are similar to potential problems, challenges and issues that your customers experience.
Before you start business development, try to learn as many examples as possible about your company’s use cases. Your company’s success stories, about how they helped customers. Ideally, make sure that you can always describe a few examples for each industry, with which a customer can identify themselves well.
Don’t suddenly start calling, and then hope that you will speak to a customer who suddenly becomes interested. That doesn’t work! You need a good cold calling script, about which I can give you good tips this article. Always think about the relevant added value in your message: how you can help solve a problem with the customer.
Consider things that:
• Increase sales.
• Strengthen customer loyalty.
• Reduce loss of sales and/or image damage.
• Being cost-effective.
Make sure you never completely stop performing business development work… regardless of your sales position and level of seniority. By always training business development, you force yourself to continuously perfect the “value pitch” of your company.
Really anyone who stops pro-active self-searching for new leads ends up running into a wall. Leads and pipelines dry up and you have no reserves left to collect. Business development is and always is necessary for the continuous growth of new customers, projects and your knowledge about the market.