This year is going to be different.
That’s what you keep telling yourself, at least. But do you have a concrete plan… something beyond get up earlier, work harder, stay later, and sell more stuff?
Take a minute to reflect on your professional resolutions for the new year.
Do they represent a thoughtful, meaningful effort at real improvement?
Or are they empty “Hallmark” promises that sound good but lack substance?
Do you know what you did well last year, and where you can improve? Most importantly, what specific steps can you take to bring your biz-dev game to the next level?
It seems complicated and overwhelming. But, in our experience, the path to biz-dev success boils down to two key principles: time and value.
Here’s how you can turn those principles into New Year’s resolutions you can actually use to connect with more high-quality prospects… and give them a reason to become long-term clients:
Resolution No. 1: Value Your Time
Let’s say you meet a prospect at a networking event. Based on your brief conversation, you are unable to “rate” her as a qualified prospect.
She asks if you want to meet for coffee to exchange ideas and explore referral opportunities—what do you say?
Most sales reps would say “yes” without much hesitation. Even if she’s not likely to become a client, you might get a few contacts or ideas for leads out of the meeting, so why not?
Here’s why not: low-quality leads aren’t worth your time.
Think about it this way: you wouldn’t spend your hard-earned money on a low-quality product, so why spend your valuable time on low-quality prospects?
There’s something especially valuable about time: unlike money, nobody can get more of it. That’s why smart sales reps understand that it’s how you use your time that makes all the difference.
Determine, in a brief phone call perhaps, what the purpose and agenda of the meeting will be. Is her explanation clear or wishy-washy? Only then can you decide whether it makes sense to invest your time.
Reps who spend their hours on high-quality prospects gain the fullest funnels, the most meaningful prospect interactions, and the best results.
So value your time. Spend it wisely. If you spend an hour poorly, you’ll never get it back—and you’ll be an hour behind your competition.
Resolution No. 2: Use Your Time To Offer Value
You feel clear and confident on why a meeting with your prospect is valuable. After all, you offer a great solution and great service (and you’ve developed a list of great things to spend your commission check on!).
But how do you really define value? More importantly, who defines value?
However valuable you think you are, there’s only one “decider” when it comes to value: your prospect.
That’s why it’s critical that you speak in the language your prospect understands. Only then will your prospect discover a reason to say “yes” to whatever it is you’re offering.
To gain fluency in your prospect’s language, look to your current clients. They were once prospects and can guide you to what they perceive to be important and valuable.
Next, commit to offering that value to your prospects—in the form of a suggestion, an idea, a resource, or anything else, small or large, that helps your prospects solve a problem, meet an objective, or gain a new perspective.
The point is to focus on your prospects’ needs rather than your own. Don’t think, “What can I get out of this phone call?”—instead, think, “What can I offer to my prospect that will give him a reason to keep talking?”
Either one of these resolutions—offering value, and valuing your time—gives you a big edge. Most sales reps cling to low-value leads much longer than they should, and believe “features and benefits” will save the day.
On the other hand, when you uncover what your prospect values and recognize the value of your time, you create an entirely different kind of sales strategy. And it’s a far better path to real results than empty platitudes about working harder or staying later.
Then, next New Year's, you’ll really have a reason celebrate.