Why do I make such a bullish claim? Well, most people agree with the notion that success in professional services hinges on two things –
– A quality product/ service that people want to buy
– Strong relationships
So, with that in mind, how does reciting an ‘elevator script’ or spouting benign sales patter do either?!
A lot of nonsense is talked about Unique Sales Propositions (which surely can’t be plural by definition?!) and differentiation but in truth it’s highly improbable that you have either. Claiming you have that ultimate edge the first time you meet someone new because you “put clients first” and “provide outstanding service” is – to be blunt – risible.
Relationships require you to invest significant time, effort and (if possible) reciprocity.
Forget all the gimmickry that all too often swaddles networking and anchor your BD around doing the following 3 things brilliantly:
1. Put a structured approach to maintain regular face-to-face contact with existing clients and referrers in place so you really do to build closer ties. Then when you are chatting, explore how you can genuinely help each other by thinking a bit more creatively.
2. Network ‘under the radar’, i.e. go where your clients go, not where your competitors go! This is likely to mean you’ll need to find and attend your clients’ industry events. When asked why you are there all you need to say is you want to learn more about what is happening in [complete as necessary].”
3. Focus on a ‘little and often’ approach and add in a few informal events. This way you will get to know people better and have more interesting conversations. In turn, this will lead to more opportunities and deeper relationships.