Thanks Bob! – Millennial Marketer Series, SMPS Pittsburgh

Do you have a business development or sales mentor? No? Why not? If you do not have a mentor, get one…now!

If you are at the beginning of your career, you need one. And if you are already experiencing some career success in client development or charged with developing business for your firm or keeping your client happy, you must pick the best mentor you can find and copy their every action!

To learn how to do business development, you must imitate the experts. Pick the best person for your mentor and observe how they interact with clients, how they talk on the phone, and handle client issues. Ask them to take you to client meetings and observe them in action. The best person I copied led me into a 25-year career of successfully developing and keeping clients for a multimillion dollar practice group for our firm. And what do you think was the first thing I remember copying? It was how he answered the phone! He always addressed the client in a friendly voice and spoke as if he had known the client for years! He used their first name and in a calm demeanor, carefully explained why our company was the best and certainly the most obvious choice for Mr. Client’s project to succeed! And this all went down before he even met the person face to face! I was “awestruck” at that moment. I never forgot that. And I decided then and there that I would copy his calm, informative and quietly confident, yet friendly approach, from that point on with all of my clients. And it never failed me (OK it did fail me once when the client just simply hated me! And I found out years later that that same client hated redheads!).

I wondered why this technique worked so well and then realized the reason: that I genuinely like people, and so did my mentor.

“The point is, be yourself with clients. Be friendly, be helpful, be respectful, but be human. It is OK to have a little humor. You can be both smart and easy going with your client as long as you are genuine. And as long as you are providing the best consulting advice you can give your client.”

So I want to say thanks to my first mentor… “Thanks Bob!” for helping me to learn that selling is about trust and trust is about being comfortable with who you are and what you know, what you don’t know, and not trying to be someone or something that you aren’t. People buy from those they like, people like those that they can trust, and they trust those who can help them. So put your nerves aside and remember that your clients are people too. They want to be treated just as you want to be treated. They have time demands, family demands, personal interests and business goals to meet. And one last thing, remember – like you, your clients have bosses too…what does that mean? It is the subject of my next blog!

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