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“CLOSING ZONE” Approach to Business Development

Posted by allan on April 16th, 2014

At the Closers Group, we talk about our CLOSING ZONE approach to business development and ensuring that – at the time of meetings with clients and prospects – you are ready to close. Winning new business, however, means building on 4 steps:

* Find ‘em: identifying and finding your best prospects;
* Meet “em: meeting your best prospects;
* Get ‘em: Winning clients and developing more
prospects;
* Keep ‘em: keeping your clients – and building on the
amount of business they bring you.

In the next 4 blog columns, we’ll discuss each.

MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE TERMS

Posted by allan on April 14th, 2014

In our work with law firms throughout the United States and Canada, we find that many professionals consider the terms “marketing” and “business development” interchangeable. We, however, actually separate the terms into 4 categories:

* Marketing: getting found;
* Business Development: targeting, research and proposal preparation;
* Business Generation: getting selected;
* Client Retention: keeping them happy and growing business.

We’ve found only a few businesses and sales teams develop and utilize all 4 concepts in ways that consistently grow business. And too many firms have weak business generation skills. Now is the time to train professionals and sales teams to understand the various skills it takes to close more business.

THIS IS THE YEAR TO “GROW” YOUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS.

STEP #4 TO WINNING THAT NEW CLIENT.

Posted by allan on April 9th, 2014

PERFORM DILIGENT FOLLOW -UP

MAINTAIN communication with the prospective client to show you’re keen to win the business and to prove you are eager to begin the project.

THANK the client for the opportunity to present your firm and possibly work with them.

GAUGE the success of the presentation by the win or loss of the business, or the company’s reaction– and don’t forget that future business still counts as success.

ALTER your strategic plan as necessary to improve for the next presentation.

MEETING with your prospects takes you a step closer to the heart of the CLOSING ZONE (www.closingzonebook.com), so ensure you and your colleagues are prepared. The more that you know about your prospects, clients and what to expect, the better your chances are of locking up another win by securing new business.

STEP #4 TO WINNING THAT NEW CLIENT

Posted by allan on April 9th, 2014

DOINGyour homework, making a connection and show ‘em you mean business were the first 3 steps presented to winning new clients. And the fourth is PERFORM DILIGENT FOLLOW-UP. By keeping the focus direct and brief, we find clients improve their business development success rate.

MAINTAIN communication with the prospective client to show you’re keen to win the business and to prove you are eager to begin the project.

THANK the client for the opportunity to present your firm and possibly work with them.

GAUGE the success of the presentation by the win or loss of the business, or the company’s reaction – and don’t forget that future business still counts as success.

ALTER your strategic plan as necessary to improve for the next presentation.

AND, meeting with your prospects takes you a step closer to the heart of the CLOSING ZONE (www.closingzonebook.com) so ensure you and your colleagues are prepared. The more that you know about your prospects, clients and what to expect, the better your chances are of locking up another win by securing new business.

STEP #3 TO WINNING THAT NEW CLIENT

Posted by allan on April 7th, 2014

Following the first 2 steps, Doing Your Homework and Making a Connection, let’s address
SHOW ‘EM YOU MEAN BUSINESS — YOUR PRESENTATION.

* Be ready to answer any and all questions.
* Be transparent, direct and confident.
* Support your presentation with take-aways, visuals
and detailed success stories from previous and current
clients.
* Stress your firm’s interest, qualifications and
commitment to the client!!

The last of the 4 Steps to Winning a New Client is
PERFORMING DILIGENT FOLLOW-UP, our next column.

STEP #2 TO WINNING THAT NEW CLIENT

Posted by allan on April 2nd, 2014

After the 1st step, “Doing Your Homework”, the next step is
MAKE A CONNECTION.

* Make sure there are clear lines of communication between your company and the client. Assign internal contacts to appropriate people within the company.

* Communicate with their management team to learn about additional opportunities.

* If you already have a relationship, reinforce it in a positive manner with regular, open communication.

Next column will cover the 3rd Step, Show ‘Em You Mean Business.

STEP #1 TO WINNING THAT NEW CLIENT

Posted by allan on March 31st, 2014

In new business development, the first step prior to meeting with a new prospect is DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

* Define your current relationship with the person and the company.
* Review the company’s recent history, policies, business ventures, lawsuits, products and services and any possible openings within the company for additional work.
* Find out which companies and competitors the company has currently engaged and how you measure up against them.
* Learn who makes the big decisions in the company: the direct customer (user of your service); the financial officer; an executive; or someone else.

Next column will cover step #2, MAKE A CONNECTION

4 STEPS TO WINNING THAT NEW CLIENT

Posted by allan on March 27th, 2014

The “game” you play with a prospective client isn’t much different from a sports game. Closing the deal — securing the win — is all about successfully executing a foolproof action plan. Just because you might be the best for the job doesn’t mean you’ll win the business. Preparedness matters and planning ahead is vital to the success of presenting yourself and your company to a prospective client.

How can you prepare? How can you know you’ll be able to answer each and every question that you may be asked? Start by trying to find any business-related literature about the prospect that you can get your hands on and determine how your firm stacks up to their needs.

To make sure your firm’s sales representatives are ready to meet with a prospect, you will want to implement the following 4-phase business development preparedness plan:
1. Do your homework;
2. Make a connection;
3. Show ‘Em You Mean Business — Your Presentation
4. Perform Diligent Follow-up.

We’ll cover each of these sales strategies in the next several columns.

THE ECONOMY AND DEVELOPING NEW BUSINESS II.

Posted by allan on March 25th, 2014

Deliver value: When the meeting closes, you want your client to leave with a better understanding
of their own situation. This means you’ll have to give a little free advice. Consider this free advice an
investment in your future, as it will likely make the client more confident about hiring you.
Start with opening arguments: When you make it to the CLOSING ZONE, it’s important not to waste
time on facts about yourself and your business. Start with what you can do for the client, how your
strategy will help them to be successful, and how it’s going to play out.
Understand needs: Top executives are often the toughest crowd to win over, so you need to understand
their needs too. Find out what kind of pressure they’re facing, who is looking over their shoulders, what
their competitors are doing. Developing a sense of understanding about the pressures and challenges
facing executives will give you greater insight into the best way to approach them, ultimately fostering
open communication and a better relationship among parties.
Using any or all of these tactics will provide the client with more reasons to hire you while showing
your interest and commitment to their company. By combining educated risks with tried and true
presentation and meeting tactics, you’ll be better able to diversify and perfect your sales techniques
making your firm more attractive to prospects.

THE ECONOMY AND NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT I.

Posted by allan on March 20th, 2014

Be Worth It

“You prove your worth with your actions, not with your mouth.” – Jean Paul

With the economy throwing every company a curve ball, selling professional services is more difficult
than ever. In order to close the deal, your firm needs to show the prospect what you can offer and why
it’s worth it for them to hire you.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of making a great first impression. When you make a good
impression, you’re also proving your worth. The following tactics will make sure your prospect knows
that you’ll be a valuable asset:
Think business value: If the client’s project involves a peripheral issue you would like to gain more
experience in, try persuading the client to give you a chance by negotiating a lower introductory fee for
a few months, allowing them time to gain confidence in your ability to handle the work.
This technique is also effective at improving client retention as it shows your eagerness to help the client
with additional work, while proving that your firm is adept in a number of different areas.

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