No matter what business or organization you might be in, there is likely some element of sales or business development involved.
It’s a job not for the faint of heart. You hear “no” many more times than “yes” — or you may not hear back at all. As far as a personality that works best in this environment, you’ve either got it or you don’t.
And Coles Marketing’s Lisa Deremiah has it — in spades.
Doing business with people
“I always have a list of potential clients I want to get in touch with,” Deremiah said. “I look at specific industries we do well with or want to get more involved with, and I do a lot of research online.” What’s she looking for?
An outdated website. No social media presence. Lack of media relations. A sales or business development professional will attempt to make a needs assessment even before reaching out to the client or customer.
“I try to find out who makes the marketing decisions and get them on the phone if possible,” she said. “And if that doesn’t work, I try to capture their email address and reach out to them that way.” But that’s certainly not her ideal situation.
“Technology has, of course, made some things easier and more efficient, but not everything. It’s definitely harder to get a face-to-face meeting now than it was five or 10 years ago, but I think face-to-face contact is still very important. People do business with people.”
Once the connection is made, Deremiah gives her pitch, which includes the reason she is calling, a brief background of Coles Marketing’s services and the opportunity to follow up with a meeting.
Positive pieces of business development
“It’s about follow up and consistency,” she said. “Maybe it’s a brush off, but if I connect with someone who is willing to do a follow-up call or email, that means they might want to work with us in the future.”
She has other advice for being more effective in a sales or business development position:
- Be nice. Have a positive attitude on the phone. And make a good first impression in person — be polite, arrive on time, dress properly and have a firm handshake.
- Listen more. A business relationship is much like a personal relationship. If you don’t click, you’re not going to move forward with the business — so listen to their needs more, and talk about your own accomplishments less.
- Know your product. “I’m the first impression of Coles Marketing to potential clients, so I have to be knowledgeable about all we do and all we can offer,” Deremiah said.
- Find out the answers. Go into your initial meeting as more of a fact finder. And if a question is asked you don’t know the answer to, make it a point to find out.
- Perfect follow-up skills. Whether it’s a handwritten thank you, an email or a phone call, take the time to follow up after your meeting.
- Offer a helpful tidbit. Part of your follow up can be sending a piece of helpful information — a case study demonstrating how your company has solved a problem; a website to check whether or not their website is mobile friendly; or an article appropriate to their industry.
One step closer to a yes
And finally, keep your promises. “I do what I say I’m going to do to the best of my ability,” Deremiah said. “That creates trust and lays a positive foundation.”
What about the frustration of getting all the “no” responses? It’s all part of the job.
“You have to not let it tear you up,” she said. “That’s why having a positive attitude is so important. Plus, every ‘no’ is one step closer to a ‘yes.’”
Interested in talking with Lisa about what Coles Marketing can offer your business? Call her at 317-571-0051 ext. 104 or email email@example.com.