I often get asked for advice on Business Development. I’ve spent most of my career in sales (or some sales like function), and here are my thoughts on how to be better with your BD. This post is geared toward folks looking to do BD deals in the online world.
10 Tips for Better BD
1.) Get Warm Introductions – Typically 1 out of 10 people will email or call you back from a cold outreach. So spend the extra time up front a find someone who knows the contact you want to get to know. Who knows, you may find yourself getting a LOT less NOs.
2.) Deal with Decision Makers – Are you dealing with El Jeffe? If not you could be wasting your time. Make sure your contact has the authority to make your business deal go through.
3.) Only Pansy’s are Not Prepared – Once you get the contact on the phone, make sure you know everything about them. Knowing the school, former jobs, current projects of your BD counterparts just makes you and your company look like that much more of an all star.
4.) ASK don’t TALK – Are you committing the Cardinal Sin of BD, I bet you are… Don’t offer or sell your value proposition before you know what the other side wants to accomplish. ASK lots of questions first; then start your pitch.
5.) Provide as LITTLE Information as Possible – How often have you heard “sounds interesting, send me more information”. Information, a deal does not close. Until you have buy-in from the other side, don’t waste your time on intricate pitch materials, you’re spinning your wheel and no one’s offering you any cheese.
6.) A Picture is Worth… – When you do send information over, make sure you visually show the benefit to your potential partner. Seeing how you might work together is infinitely more impactful that trying to describe in text, even if you did write the best 6th grade book reports.
7.) Manage the Follow Up Process – Treat you potential BD partners like kids in a summer camp, tell them exactly what you want them to do. Why? Because the other side is busy, and if you leave the follow up to them, it may not get done – schedule follow up meetings, get their phone numbers, be the first to send the contract over, and take the lead on managing all aspects of moving the deal forward.
8.) Please, Persistence and Pressure – In business, the squeaky wheel gets the deal. Your counterparts are busy, so busy in fact that they’re going to forget to do the things needed to get the deal done. Putting pressure on them with follow up emails and calls, & being politely persistent will make sure that they pay attention. And they’ll even thank you for it.
9.) Keep Excitement Up Until the Deal Closes- The idea of doing something together is much more exciting, than actually have to do the work to do something together. The same excitement and enthusiasm that helps open up a new prospect, is needed just as much to see the deal through to the finish line.
10.) The Sale Begins After the Deal is Done – You closed the deal, so what! Now the real work begins. You spent a lot of time and effort making sure this deal went through. Now you need to spend a lot more adding value and making sure you build on that relationship, otherwise it was all for not. The tenth tip makes your better BD last.