I had an interesting conversation today where perception was at the heart of the conversation. Here is how the conversation went:

Them: One man bands really don’t want to put their hands into their wallets and buy business coaching. That’s why I need to target larger corporates Me: Actually we find the opposite. Small businesses, in fact often the one man bands, are more prepared to commit to a business coaching relationship with us than the larger businesses.

In the blog post I explore the role of perception in becoming successful at business development.

So, who was right here?

Actually both. It all comes down to perception and perception of value. I’ll explain what I mean. In a recent blog post I talked about my cycling journey and how this relates to business development. In the blog post I talk about the power of the mind and your mindset to how well you do with business development. I.e. with a positive mindset and momentum behind you business development can seem to be easy. Without that positive mindset, business development is anything but easy. Therefore, if you believe that it is going to be hard to win business then it will become hard.

The perception of value

If someone doesn’t want to buy what you are selling then it becomes a very expensive product or service. Herein lies the problem. Because we are not peddling the right service or product we blame our potential clients with phrases such as “they wouldn’t dig their hands into their pocket for pay for it”.

Perception is often at the root of “cosy conversations which go nowhere”

We recently ran a webinar for over 100 people. During the webinar over 60% of the delegates on the webinar reported that “they were having a lot of conversations but struggling to convert these to new business”. The perception is that they needed to get better at closing. Whereas it is nothing to do with your ability to close, it is actually all about your ability to qualify your prospects effectively.

How do you make sure you are selling a service or product that your ideal client wants to buy?

The first thing to do is NOT assume you know what they want. Your role as a sales person (and yes, that is exactly what you need to be) is to create the right conditions for your ideal client to want to buy. It may be a subtle change in semantics, but the best business developers create the right conditions for their clients to buy. This means:

  1. Doing their market research by actually talking to their ideal client about their challenges and what really matters to them (We talk about ways to do this in chapter 3 of The Go-To Expert)
  2. Targeting their marketing and sales strategy so they are talking to their ideal client before they are ready to buy (We talk about this much further in chapter 8 of Poised for Partnership)

In summary:

The best way to get any client to put their hands into their pocket is to help them buy a product or service which they (not you) perceive to be highly valuable to them.

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