By Sid Chadwick
“You just don’t luck into things as much as you’d like to think you do. You build step by step, whether its friendships or opportunities.”..…...Barbara Bush
Committed Business Development Leadership… is hard to hide……It’s also hard to fake.
I was asked by the son of a company owner, who was his Dad’s only Sales Rep at the time, “What can I be doing to get ahead… a little faster…for my next position in Dad’s company?”
I shared my response later with his Dad: “Michael…do a better job with everything you are doing - now…including… checking your work…”
Michael didn’t look pleased with my reply……his Dad, however, was thrilled.
Almost everywhere I turn, company owners are trying to hire and encourage their new and current Sales Reps – to go after new customers.
As a self-destructive pattern, New Reps receive too little real education and training. Current Reps receive even less…or none… of an ongoing nature……. …And Buyers know it.
In one-on-one discussions, I ask Reps, “Which of your current customers are you receiving ALL their business…?” Their answer, after a quizzical look tends to be, “None.”
Our Customer Survey results continue to testify that Survey sponsors are receiving far less of most customers’ business - than was previously recognized….!
A Beginning Check-List…….
Questions uncovering common Business Development apathy and lack of Leadership:
- Which of your customers have visited your Plant, and taken a Plant Tour – in the last year? Did they meet your president…? Was there an Itineray and Agenda, that your customer participated in developing…?
- Which and how many talented Production and Creative personnel have been introduced personally to key prospects and customers…?.... How many have been on Sales Calls with you…?
- How many major Proposals have you initiated and submitted to customers – in the last year (we’re not talking about Quote requests)…?
- For only your top 5 customers, “What are their business objectives and goals for this year…?” (How can we support them with Proposals and Quote Letters - if we don’t know what they are…?)
- How many Referrals have you asked for, obtained, and followed-up with appointments…in the last year?
- How many written “Thank You Notes” have you written and mailed to customers in the last 90 days…? (I do not mean emails…!) Fellow employees…? Suppliers…?
- Which Trade Shows do your most loyal, most profitable customers attend….? How many of those Trade Shows do you attend…? Results…?
I’ll never forget a client’s “Customer and Profit Improvement Discussion” - in which we were – through one means or another - getting rid of the client’s bottom 15% of their customers – who were “obstructions to company performance improvement.”
However, on one customer name, their president quickly said, “That one we need to keep – they supply us with at least two Referrals every year, that develop into very decent customers…!”
“An unexamined life is not worth living.”…….Socrates