Of course there is! Sales result from business development activities. So if your focus is purely on making sales, your end game may not be the result you were hoping for.

Let’s have a look at why we need to know the difference!

 

It is crucial to have a business development strategy or plan

It does not need to be overly complex, but it does need to be written down somewhere so you can develop your ideas and and keep them on track to assist you grow your business, with the sales you want to achieve to reach the end goal.

 

Business development can be flexible. What does that mean?

Well, in simple terms, it means that you can undertake business development initiatives and see what works, then adjust your plans to include more of these activities.

 

How do you create a Business Development Plan?…. A simple plan please!

Step 1 – Like we said before, you need to keep in mind the end goal. So each step of the plan needs to focus on this as the big picture. You need to ensure you nurture your clients and prospects (leads) by improving your relationship with them. You want them to feel important and cared for, in each contact point with your business.

Step 2 – Make sure you have a clear picture of what your business mission statement and vision statement looks like and that you (and your team) can clearly articulate this.

Step 3 – Set achievable and relevant goals (KPIs). Your goal needs to be specific. A bad example is: Increase sales this quarter. A good example is: Increase sales by 5% this quarter with new prospects into the business sales funnel.

Step 4 – Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you are solo operator, be honest with yourself and decide what you are good at and what could be better done by a third party. The financial outlay for the third party will be worth it when you achieve the goals you have set the business. If you have a team, get to know them and what their strengths are, perhaps you have team members who really want to extend themselves and it is worth having them undertake training. Your resources (staff) should be nurtured, just like your clients and prospects.

Step 5 – Implement and review. When you implement your business development activities it is important to be able to ‘measure’ the outcome. Were the KPIs met? Do they need to be adjusted? Look at the overall business growth as well as you may see some trends that you did not expect and can add into your business development plan going forward.

 

How much will it cost?

A very good question! However depending on your goals you have set yourself, will determine how many resources you need to be able to make available. It may be a time resource (your time as a business owner), a staff resource, a third party resource or a software resource. Whatever the resource ensure it is making the impact you need to achieve the end goal.

 

What sort of things can I do that are will assist my business develop?

This is your game plan! The exciting bit! Here is a very small list of ideas that you could think about to develop your business:

Make your brand really succinct, so that your customers and prospects immediately know who you are when they see your social media posts, your website, your emails etc

Be confident to network. If you are already networking, make sure you are in the right groups, perhaps it is time for a change or maybe you need to be innovative and change the way you engage with your current group. In other words, you do not need to belong to loads of networking groups, you need to belong to the right ones – effective networking.

Stay in contact with your current customers. Let them know about other services you provide that perhaps they were not aware of. Give them pricing that reflects your ongoing relationship. If they feel nurtured, they may also refer you.

Change how you deal with prospects. Not every person into your sales funnel will buy from you, but they may be a good referral source or might come back to you when they are ready. Do not hound them with emails and phone calls. Have a process to deal with prospects. Think about how you like to be treated when you are looking for services and replicate that for your own potential customers.

Offer more. We cannot begin to tell you how important this is! Whether it is free resources for your clients (downloads and printables, videos, audio books, ebooks etc), short phone or web consultations, sample products. The list should be available for your team so that you can work out what will be the right item to offer your customers and prospects.

Follow through! Do not over promise and under deliver. Most of us have probably experienced this and it is not a good feeling! Be realistic about what you can offer, ensure you articulate this and then do your very best to over deliver.

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