Priority Shifts: Making New Business Your Main Business
There are very few salespeople that will tell you that they actually enjoy making cold calls and finding new client prospects. Most prefer to work on deals because deals closed brings in income. Yet, without new business prospects, you will not have clients or customers and therefore no deals to close.
Most salespeople have the winning mentality, and prospecting is about losing. You lose, and then maybe win, but often lose. It equates to having to climb a big hill to get home every day. You look at the hill and you’d rather not climb it. As a result, deals take priority in most salespeople’s minds over prospecting.
However, great salespeople view sales very differently. They understand that their business is about new business. Without new business, you won’t have business in the long run. As a commercial real estate broker, I’m unemployed after each transaction, whether I have done a good job or not. Constant unemployment means that I need to wake up each day thinking where is my next job going to come from.
When salespeople shift their mentality and priorities, putting new business activities in front of deal-making, then they’ll become an entirely different person over the long run of their career.
To make new business development a priority, you will need to “schedule” more time in your calendar to developing relationships with new prospects. And just like deals, you will have to service and nurture your new business as if they are already clients. The biggest difference is when you switch your priorities– you become the client and begin to service yourself. If you fail, just like in working deals, you will not see the paydays you were hoping for.
You will also be tracking different metrics to gauge results. For example, instead of looking at how many deals you close, you will need to track how many new clients or opportunities you secure.
Obviously, you still need to service your clients in order for deals to close, but if you prioritize new business as your most important task, then the pressure to close deals will also change.
When you build a strong pipeline of new business, you will have more deals to keep you occupied than you have time for, and therefore will protect yourself on the downside if a deal does not close.
As salespeople, when asked what you do, your answer should be, “I secure new business”. Think about the next question that person will ask you.
—Hans Hansson, Starboard Commercial/TCN Worldwide