This is a great guest post by Martin Bragg who is a business development professional with over two decades experience in the professional services arena. Here he explores a crucial aspect of business development and one where many people fail to hit the mark with serious consequences.
If you would like to know more about Martin please click here….
Turn assumptions into questions…
Over the years I’ve learned that “Assumption is the mother of all cock-ups” particularly when it comes to sales. For some time now we have been casually telling potential clients ‘we know your issues’. But do we really?
We may know the issues our clients are having, and this is great insight to have, but we cannot assume that every client is facing the same challenges as these.
Assume nothing and never guess
The hard work in sales is done in the conversations leading up to a proposal. It’s our opportunity to find out all the little facts that prove we care and that we understand their situation. In short: we demonstrate we know the client better than anyone else. Gaining this insight also shows that the client already trusts us.
If the client has given you some insight during this phase, remind them. If they haven’t, don’t guess. Use phrases like:
- “You told us that X is a major issue for you…”
- “From our experience in your industry we see clients with the following key concerns…”
- “We will work with you to identify and solve the critical issues that you need this project to address…”
Take action – do this today
So here is a practical way to improve your awareness and sharpen your technique in this critical business activity: –
- Take a piece of paper and write the name of a client at the top and divide the page into two columns.
- Down the left hand side write the issues you think they have.
- Next to each issue write down how you know about it. Did the client tell you? Is it your or your firms’ industry insight? Or is it a guess? Be honest.
- For every piece of industry insight ask yourself how can you prove it and for every guess turn it into a question you can ask your client.
Basing a proposal on facts rather than guesswork will always improve our chances of success and in today’s marketplace we need all the help we can get.