When it comes to new business development, there are a number of barriers that we will all face from time to time.
These can be internal barriers –the barriers that we make ourselves, or that come from within us – or external barriers, which come from outside of ourselves, including the barriers put up for us by customers and competitors.
One of the internal barriers is what I call “practical barriers”. This includes lack of access to product information, marketing collateral, competitor research, or any one of a number of other things that we think we "need" in order to get out there and talk to people about what we do and offer.
It can be hard to argue with practical barriers. After all, a thing either exists or it doesn’t.
However, when our reluctance to “do” business development is primarily about our lack of brochures, slide decks, white papers, and those sorts of things, what this really means is that we’re not yet sold on what we are supposed to be selling.
The first sale is always to yourself. If you aren’t sold, no one else will be.
In their book Conviction, Peter Cook, Matt Church and Michael Henderson explain that it is more likely to be the person who is doing the selling who has objections – ‘too pricey, don’t need it, not now’ – instead of the customer.
In place of “objections”, they say, what customers really have is questions, considerations, alternative options and time. These are all things that we need to manage when educating ourselves about what are selling, and all of it comes before we try to educate a customer.
According to a study conducted by B2B research and advisory firm Sirius Decisions, up to 70% of content and collateral created marketing departments in business-to-business organisations sits unused anyway.
Practical barriers aren’t really barriers – they are more like “objections” we have to the idea of getting out there and talking to people about what we do.
Worry less about how good your PowerPoint slides are and think more about the value in what you’re selling.
|Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant specialising in business that is won through competitive bids and tenders. Her clients have won and retained hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business with many of Australia’s largest corporate and government buyers.|
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