I was asked today, "If you were to blog about this, what would you say?" Interesting observation that I tend to be more eloquent on my blog than I was on the phone. Of course, I usually don't write so directly about what is happening between my ears.
But what would I say? I'm being stretched in my small consulting company to do business development - as we all have to do. This is something I've told myself for a long time that "I'm not very good at it." It's more accurate to say that I haven't done it much before, so it isn't second nature. I'm not practiced - and I have been told a number of times that this isn't something that you can just read about and become skilled. And in previous conversations about this, I would just get frozen when asked "what are you going to do?" Followed by piles and piles and piles of suggestions and ideas to try. All of which froze me more.
So, after overcoming some of my own fear and annoyance and immobility, I did the next (obvious?) thing - I called one of my colleagues and said, "I don't know what to do first." We walked through some of the most basic things, and I think I feel more comfortable making those next phone calls.
So, those next steps?
- Get out a list of likely people to contact. Prioritize (maybe not the hottest prospect first, if I am just learning this stuff).
- Find their business phone numbers.
- Learn a little about their company, so you don't sound like a complete fool.
- Have a plan for what to expect from the call. I am not going to close a sale - that's not my job. My job is to build some interest in further conversations.
- Call them and see if they have time to talk. Schedule time if they don't. [I'd much prefer to email, but I've been counseled that this just doesn't work.]
- Describe what we do as succinctly as possible, be honest about why I'm calling, and then have a conversation to discover their situation, challenges, and implications of those challenges. (See SPIN Selling.)
- Close with specific next steps.
[Photo: "write" by the trial]