On November 19, 2015, the Long Island Affiliate hosted a Professional Development program on Best Practices in Business Development. SMPS members and non-members learned core aspects of successful selling and networking tips from veteran sales trainer Adrian Miller. Miller who launched a sales training/business development consultancy firm 28 years ago and authored “The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success” focused on the three key selling aspects during the session:
• Differentiation: What makes your firm different . . . not better? Being different is more powerful than being better, but being different must have a meaning and it must equal an improvement. It’s not enough to just say you are different, you need to be able to show the difference, what the improvement is, and how it is a benefit to your audience.
• Staying on the grid with referral sources. Most people will be diligent about doing their follow-up after an event or during the course of time. This is called the “check-in” or “touching base,” however, there is a limited amount of time that you can use this method. Miller points out, “you don’t want people to cringe when you contact them.” To stay in front of your sources by providing value instead of being “that nag,” Miller suggests engaging in the “Three I’s” of networking:
o Introductions: An introduction or connecting of two people you know that can help each other.
o Invitations: Industry invitations to attend events are received by all of us. Most of these venues are not closed. Forward to your source as a way to reconnect. Join me at . . .
This option requires some selectiveness; you should be mindful that the invitation is of interest and of cost.
o Information: Forward an article, video, etc., of substance that your source would find valuable.
• Return on Time. Assessing what you are doing to get increased results from your networking activities.
Adrian’s session was a great reminder that whether you are the novice or an experienced business development professional, it is important to be proactive and consistent. As a result, your strategic networking activities will improve your business.
Here’s what some attendees had to say:
“Great review and excellent tips! In particular, I’ll be taking away the “Three I’s” versus ‘Touching Base and Checking In” follow up advice. Introductions, Invitations, Information. Great solutions for ways to stay in front of prospects as you nurture relationships!” – Andrew J. Weinberg, FSMPS, CPSM, Regional Business Development Manager, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
“Amongst other sound advice, a great reminder for beginners and expert Business Development professionals alike: implement excellent follow-up techniques (relentlessly). Few of your competitors do it well. In my own words … complacency kills.” – Michael Cooke, Vice President Business Development, Toscano Clements Taylor
“Adrian’s presentation was ‘real;’ there was no fluff in her knowledge of how to use networking to benefit you and your company.” – Hiara Guevara, Director, CSM Engineering P.C.
“Adrian’s suggestions on staying front of mind [with prospects/clients] without damaging relationships were spot-on and will surely be folded into our marketing new business efforts.”
– Katie Waldron, Marketing Specialist, Tensator Inc.