More Ideas from Bill James ~ Issue 34 ~ January 2018

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Video – PAN Your Next Event

No the title is not a typo…We often put time and effort into an event without really knowing why

If you want your next event to pan out use the PAN formula.

Finding new business opportunity the off-line way

As we kick off the year, or any time for that matter, we start to look for ways of gathering business opportunities that we can convert into new clients.

There are many online ways of doing this but let us explore three off-line ways that can make a difference.

1. Suppliers

You should always befriend the suppliers of your existing customers for the simple reason they know exactly what that customer base is doing.

Nurture these relationships early so you can come back to them later.

Try creating informal relationship as you will learn more from the casual conversation than from set appointments when it comes to learning about their clients.

Make sure it’s a two-way street. Can you bring in potential clients or let them know what is going on in the market so that you can help them boost their business? When you start building this type of relationship they start recommending you to their clients.

Show your appreciation when they do. Learn about the individuals and make sure that the ‘thank you’ idea you use is personalised to them.

2. Joint ventures and strategic alliances

There are many people in the marketplace who share a similar client base to you but do not overlap greatly with your own business offering. 

Always ensure that the people you have relationships with are of at least equal standing with you in the market. Do not ever deal with people who are inferior to your own offering.

Have a frank and open discussion about where the commonalities are and where there might be any conflicts. You will be amazed how little conflict-of-interest you actually have compared to the good work you could do together. Getting it out in the open puts everyone at ease and forms the basis for an ongoing relationship.

Have an open discussion about what the expectations of both parties are early. Don’t shy away from this, it makes sense to find out if there is a real relationship or not and being open like this indicates honesty.

Also do not shy away from formalising the arrangement to create regular meetings and reporting ideas so they know what you are doing when they introduce you. Over communicate your activity rather than think you are being annoying to help them be at ease around you.

Think of smart marketing that you can do together that allows them to promote you through their database and vice versa. Do not expect them to deliver their database to you.

Have patience as trust takes time. No one gives you their ‘A’ class clients from day one unless your reputation in the market is far superior to theirs.

3. Going back to past and existing clients

There is a treasure trove of business to be had in people that have already used your services. Even if we feel that the relationship is ended it is amazing how things change over time. We should never completely discount a past client unless we choose not to have them as a client any more.

Be imaginative in reconnecting with these clients as you have to regain their interest again. They will often have moved on and so you’ve got to bring them back.

Make a list of your top 20 and go and have a coffee just to catch up and see what is happening. Just putting yourself in the way of opportunity will create opportunity.

With existing customers never underestimate the power of gaining referrals. You need to sow the seed when you are making the appointment that this is what you are looking for and then make sure you have got a process you are comfortable with when asking. You can be quite specific with existing clients and ask if they know particular people within particular organisations. Most industries have a good idea of who is who.

Create client events but do not bore them with your own products the whole time. Bring experts in that they want to see to attract them back. You can also run a ‘bring a friend’ style of arrangement so they introduce new people from the business. It is also a great way to meet people in other areas within the businesses you are already working with.

Have an automated search going on for things of interest in the industry and make sure you continually drop personal emails and points of interest to your existing clients. Do not focus just on business as there are many personal aspects you can also work with.

 

Many of these ideas may not be new to you but are you using them? The point is that they really work and if you put them into action you will to start create a significant pipeline of new business opportunities.

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