Written by: Suzanne Ratti, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Does this picture remind you of the ‘Good Old Days of Networking?’ Prior to 2020, networking events were the go-to for expanding your sphere of influence and seeking out new business opportunities. Now that the New Normal has taken hold and Zoom dominates many hours in our days, salespeople in particular are fatigued and finding the business development process challenging, to say the least. Here are a few Business Development Techniques for the New Normal that will not only help you continue to expand your sphere of influence, but may just lead you to better business relationships, long-term.
The Problem with Networking
Even before Covid, there was a lot of debate over the value of networking. Was it really an effective business development technique? Handing out business cards, scheduling coffee meetings, and searching for real business opportunities took time and resources. Quite honestly, it decreased the averages of the typical sales-close ratio because so much time was often spent with the wrong people. For this reason, I think 2020 has presented us with new opportunities to increase the efficacy of networking.
Here are a couple of examples:
While on a zoom call, work the chatbox. Listen to introductions and only reach out and/or make time for people who actually have the potential to help you either expand your sphere of influence and/or do business with you. Use the chatbox to qualify who you should be spending more time with.
Make your introduction count. The 30-second elevator speech is critical in today’s zoom environment. Make sure your elevator speech tells people clearly and concisely what problem you solve, what solution you provide.
Be OK with saying “No.” Just because someone reaches out to ask for a coffee chat (zoom or in-person) doesn’t mean you’re obligated to say yes. Protect your time and resources by time-blocking a limited number of hours per week for these activities. Then, when the time is full, it’s full. It also will cause you to do more qualifications with the requester about what they hope to gain and how they think the meeting will be productive for both of you.
Work Your Sphere
Linkedin is the most under-utilized tool on social media and yet, for most businesses, it’s the best platform to connect with business professionals. Not only can you ‘connect’ with the right prospects based on industry, job titles, etc., you can use the messaging or premium features to communicate. This is a back-door opening that may allow you to bypass gatekeepers and get to decision-makers. But, just like with networking, you should be purposeful in your communication. Are you effectively using it as a business development technique?
Try these tips:
Ask questions! When you stop promoting and start asking questions, you’re much more like to be engaging.
Stop selling, start solving! Nobody really wants to connect just for the sake of connecting. Determine if your prospect has a need, a pain point, or a challenge that you can help solve. If not, don’t waste your time…or theirs. Oh, and if you don’t know how to use Linkedin to build meaningful and productive connections, take a sneak peek at one of the recent courses we ran on how to use Linkedin to expand your sphere of influence effectively.
Post Meaningful Content
If you are reading this paragraph, this article has grabbed your attention, provided some level of value, or provoked further thought. Do THAT with your content rather than posting just for the sake of posting. Your followers will perk up when they see your posts, stop scrolling when you’re in their newsfeed, and want to see what you have to say. If you’re posting every day of the week just for the sake of posting, without inherent value, you’ll start to disengage your audience, so be purposeful. Take time to create meaningful content and, most of all, provide solutions. Remember, as I like to say, “Are you selling something or solving something?” Solving wins every time overselling!
Are you ready to use business development techniques to create more sales? We help individuals, teams, and entire organizations create better strategies for a more productive sales funnel that impacts your bottom line! Schedule a call or consultation with Ideas360 to create sales-driven strategies that win!
Suzanne Ratti, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Suzanne Ratti is a Sales & Marketing Strategist, a proven performer and an entrepreneur with a passion for helping businesses revolutionize the way they deliver their products and services to their target audience. Her background in Sales and Marketing for powerhouses like Xerox and SmartCEO allows her to translate real-world experience, critical skill sets and proven results for businesses in virtually every industry and setting. Suzanne provides engaging coaching and presentations that can inspire, motivate and empower business owners, solopreneurs, and their sales teams to think differently.