Structured Networking is a Must
So that you can ensure a flow of business opportunities it is essential that you undertake plenty of networking both among existing clients and potential ones. You really cannot underestimate the benefit of getting out there and talking to people who may provide you with work or may recommend you to other people. Developing trusting relationships and showing that you understand the issues and struggles of users and buyers, as well as showing that you can provide solutions, is best accomplished by face-to-face contact. This means that the more people you talk with the more opportunities you are creating for your business.
That being said, if you want your networking to reap benefits you need to ensure that it has structure. In simple terms; strategy is everything. You should base this on: “What is it that I am selling and why would this individual be in a better position if they bought it from me?”Don’t just wait for networking opportunities to come to you. Seek them out. Look online for legal websites, forums, and recruitment sites like SSQ Legal Search. Just heading out and dishing out business cards to random people isn’t going to provide the results you are hoping for.
Boast Amazing Interpersonal Skills
When someone makes a great first impression, we don’t tend to forget them: a strong and confident handshake, a friendly smile, an interesting personality and keen personal interest are all factors that contribute to coming away from meeting someone feeling impressed and that you have engaged in something enjoyable. We can also apply this to BD. You don’t get another chance to make a first impression and for people who excel at BD, interpersonal skills are usually one of their strong points, meaning the people they meet with are left with a positive first impression.
Set Up Meetings
When you are networking you have one clear objective and that is to set up a meeting with individuals you think are in a good position to avail of your services. There is not much chance that you will be instructed until you have met with an individual who is in a position to provide you with work. Each marketing effort should have the clear aim of engineering opportunities for you to meet with decision-makers. It is only such formal meetings that provide the chance to fully understand the needs of an individual and propose a way to address them, or if it is a ‘challenger sales model‘, to challenge the client in the way they think by showing them how an aspect of their business could be seen in another light.
Providing A Differentiated Proposition
Many organizations already have a lawyer that they instruct. This means you have the task of displacing the current legal advisor. Hence you should show how you offer benefits that cannot be matched, perhaps a better level of expertise of providing better value for money. If you are not able to show how you excel in such areas it is likely that you are going to be instructed.
Building Up Your Industry Knowledge
If you want to show a potential client how credible you are you will likely need to demonstrate that you understand their business as well as the industry that it falls under. Hence, building up a full and accurate knowledge is a key factor if you want to have effective BD. You can read the industry press (this is easily done via daily online news updates), attend conferences and read reports that all relate to the industry in question.
Make Yourself a Thought Leader
Business developers that are at the top of their game have a deep understanding of the industry and use this to become a thought leader. This means that they can predict future issues that are going to affect their clients and propose solutions, this can often happen before the client even becomes aware of the potential risk and its impact on their business.
Making Yourself an Opportunist
As a final note, whilst it is certainly true that good marketers have strategies and plans, many opportunities come up out of the blue. An opportunist will take full advantage of these. Things such as a change in decision-maker, a client ownership change or a company crisis are all opportunities which can be used to the advantage of a great business developer.