I’ve witnessed the same scene play out countless times and the results are usually cringe-worthy. It goes something like this: An eager business professional opens up a prospective client’s door for a meeting wearing a tailored suit and an impressive Rolex watch. He or she is hoping to win big with the prospective client today, and they’ve prepped by looking their best. Their briefcase is overflowing with brochures and pamphlets explaining how the client’s life will be so much easier if they would sign on the dotted line today. The professional knows the products inside and out and easily transitions into the newest features and upgrades, yet often leaves with the client’s non-committal “I’ll get back to you later when I’ve had more time to think about it.” Chances are they never hear back. They’ve missed the mark, but how?
Landing a prospective client is a lot like purchasing the perfect jewelry piece. The more research you do, the happier and more successful you’ll be. Take this for an example: A guy walks into a mall jewelry store (sounds like the beginning of a sad joke, doesn’t it?) He browses the gleaming showcases and finds a beautiful pendant he knows his wife would enjoy. He looks at the price and his mouth goes a bit dry. The sales lady puts on the pressure, and he walks out of the store with a teeny bag and a huge case of buyer’s remorse. On his way home, he passes Arnold’s Jewelers, and on a whim, wants to stop in to compare prices. As he’s browsing the huge selection, he finds a higher quality pendant that catches his eye in an instant. He asks the price and it’s considerably lower than what he just paid at the mall. He knows he’s been swindled by the mall jeweler and wishes he would have taken his time and done his due diligence in research.
So how do the two stories relate? Simple. Research is key in both buying jewelry and business development. As a business development professional selling your product is not enough these days. Researching your client’s specific needs and pitching them the products or services that could potentially solve their unique problem will exponentially increase your ability to land the deal. Why spend all that time and effort in a pitch that isn’t client specific?
Our Challenge to You: Research your client ahead of time. Reach out via email before the meeting and ask what problems they currently are experiencing and focus on how you (the professional) can make their lives better with your product or service. It’s just like the man shopping for jewelry. Through his mini research, he realized how much chain jewelry stores marked up their prices, and found that his local, family-owned shop had better prices and service. In both of these instances, research is a valuable commodity that could produce amazing rewards.
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