Building relationships are hard but well worth the effort. You must pick up the phone, send an email, send a text, message someone through LinkedIn, or schedule a meeting. All these things will help build a solid relationship with your prospect. There are some simple steps to take that will help take your firm to the next level in regards to business development and sales. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, click here.
Here are Six Easy Steps to Bring Work in The Door
Step 1: Make a list of your target audience. This should be as specific as possible. Company names and contacts (after some marketing research) should be included in this list. This will take some time but just putting “hospital administrators” on your list isn’t going to cut it. Take the time to make a specific list. At a minimum, make a list of the hospitals you want to target and then gather the contacts at those hospitals. You can put this in your customer relationship management (CRM) system or a spreadsheet. Assign follow up dates and include notes with each contact. (Sample of a worksheet here: Business Development Worksheet)
Step 2: Make the connection. You may meet someone at event, workshop, conference, coffee shop, referral (email or in person), party, etc. Create a connection with that person. If you can get a warm call that will increase your success rate dramatically. Your success rate will increase even more if you have a face-to-face referral/meeting. Find out if your prospect has a shared connection on LinkedIn and utilize that connection. Either way, it’s time to pick up the phone and make a call.
Step 3: Call and Email Your Prospect. Pick up the phone and call your prospect. Ask relevant questions. Find their pain and how you can help them. If you have a white paper or a blog article that addresses their industry specifically, you can send that to them after your initial phone call.
Some of the questions you can ask over the phone include:
If you don’t reach them on the phone, follow up with an email (in the event that you have their email). You will not want to ask a series of questions but be short and sweet. As I mentioned above, if you have a white paper or blog that is relevant to their industry, attach that to the email letting them know you are reaching out to give them some information related to their industry and would like to connect with them to learn more about their firm and their role. If you don’t have a white paper, then you may have some other resources from your industry association.
Step 4: Be persistent, not annoying. Typically, you will have to call/email two or three times before you’ll get a response. I once heard that a business owner never called a sales person back until they tried to connect three times. To the business owner, this showed the sales person tenacity and commitment to acquiring the business, and therefore would be the same way when they did business together. I thought this was an interesting perspective, and I keep this in mind when I don’t get a call back the first time. Be persistent and consistent.
In this case, call every other month. Once you have completed the three phone calls, follow up twice a year after that. Let the prospect know that you are interested in sharing information and connecting with them to learn how you can help them with their business. You can also follow up with a hand written note or letter.
This is also the part where you can find out where they hang out personally and professionally. You may have to do some research to find out where you can connect with them or find a shared connection. I’m 100% certain that you’ll have one person between you and your prospect and can ask for an introduction. Use LinkedIn to find out who that person or persons are.
Step 5: Keep track of your progress. You can keep this information in your customer relationship management (CRM) system or a spreadsheet. (I mentioned this earlier in the blog and provided a worksheet. Use it.) Make sure to keep it updated and put follow up dates on it. What doesn’t get tracked doesn’t get measured. Set goals and keep track of your business development calls.
Step 6: Don’t give up. You can do this. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Use these steps to move forward in your business development efforts.
Henry Ford quoted, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you are right.” It’s all in your head, so just follow these six easy steps and you’ll be on your way to Building Relationships with your prospects.
Make sure to stay tuned for future blogs on existing and past client relationships.
Read Part 3 here.