While reading a National Public Radio (NPR) story about snails having teeth, I became astounded at how even nature shows the value of systematic behaviors. When it comes to snails, a single snail can go through 30,000 teeth in its lifetime, replacing them as they wear out.
For many companies, an ad-hoc business development process can wear out over time. So moving at a snail’s pace to establish a more systematic one will certainly mean a short life in the marketplace.
You need to move fast to develop more business. To accelerate your business development plans, consider reading The Professional’s Guide to Business Development: How To Win Business In The Professional Services. It’s written by Stephen Newton and published by Kogan Page.
I learned about the book through NetGalley and asked for a review copy. Newton, founder of DLO Associates, has worked as a business coach and strategy consultant since 2001.
I think he has written a great guide to align marketing, sales and operations. If you run or work in a professional services firm, you will want to read this book.
Breaking Down The Basics: How Business, Like The West, Was Won
The book attempts to offer a comprehensive view of running a professional firm. A reader looking for ideas beyond social media and Cloud advice will be well satisfied with how Newton delivers his perspective. When noting CRMs, for example, Newton tempers the latest-and-greatest ideas with a balanced suggestion on how to organize. Check out this quote to see how straightforward he is:
Keep the system and the process of using it simple, design your processes on paper first, and automate what you have designed step by step ‘in little’ before moving to a full fledged system.
The chapters progress into specifics in achieving a “hit rate” – the degree of winning new business while retaining existing ones. The suggestions are meant to be scalable to your resources.
Get The Most from a Business Referral
Sales professionals will enjoy the points about referrals. He offers 5 specific referral errors, elaborating on typical topics raised along the way. Check out Newton’s comment about potentially misguiding a client’s view about your firm. He raises a question in which the answer can limit the ability to offer other products or services:
‘Anyone else here you think I should talk to?’ It limits the question in the mind of the client to considering ‘more of the same.’ The result is to narrow your scope of activity, perhaps a field that is not in fact your core expertise now what you most enjoy doing.
I liked how actionable each suggestion and outlook is, and how the details lead to ideas that you can work into your business immediately. Chapter 11 features a one-month plan, with its core details broken into three tenets – marketing, sales, and business systems. It is meant to create “multiple streams of concurrent activity rather than doing things sequentially.”
I felt many of the ideas work for small businesses that are using even the most basic features of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution. In fact, Newton touches on the value of CRM with respect to client delivery. He notes another way to support a client when project details are unexpectedly changed:
Strategic changes to the results that are delivered may give rise to a conversation with the client about additional cost, which can damage the relationship unless it is handles sensitively…This sort of conversation is easier to mange well if the roles of delivery, client ownership, and client relationship management are distinct and separate.…It helps to ensure that QA is visible to the client and provides opportunities to extend your firm’s surface area with the client firm.
What Else You Should Read With This Book
Professional’s Guide complements ideas such as No You Can’t Pick My Brain, and can be a good lead in for deeper books on systems such as Service Innovation and Islands of Profit In A Sea of Red Ink. A little irony – Newton mentions in Chapter 10 a book I reviewed, The Checklist Manifesto, as a great source for checklist.
A companion website is referenced. It includes downloadable resources.
Get this book and quickly sink your teeth into the processes that set your business on the right path to success.