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 Are You a Great Business Developer? by Paul Goldner    
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Paul Goldner


Are You a Great Business Developer?


Selling is a lot like athletic events, before there's execution, there's a solid plan. Take the following quick test to see if you need a tune up.

By: Paul Goldner

Business development, or the ability to bring new business into your fitness facility, is one of the most crucial skills for today's top sales associates. The following seven questions will test your business development acumen. These questions were compiled based on years of working with market leading sales organizations, discussions with today's top sales professionals and personal experience. Take the test and see where you rank among the world's top business development specialists:

Question 1: Do You Have A Well-Defined Market Plan?

By observing top business developers, one can rapidly conclude that selling success does not happen by accident! Today's top business developers are excellent planners. Planning typically takes place on two levels. First, top business developers have a very clear understanding of their target market. By clearly understanding their target market, the sales professional can focus all of their resources on gaining sales from the very best companies in the marketplace. In other words, their market planning allows them to maximize the return they receive on the time they invest in their business.

If you have a well-defined market plan, award yourself five points. If you have a partially defined market plan, award yourself three points. If you have a limited market plan, award yourself one point.

Question 2: Have You Written Formal Account Plans?

This is required if you're trying to sell corporate group memberships. Great business developers also make significant investments in the account planning process. If you have a formal account plan for your top accounts, award yourself five points. If you have made some investment in the account planning process, award yourself three points. If you have made only a limited investment in account planning award yourself one point.

Question 3: Are You Rejection Proof?

Rejection Proof Great business developers have also learned to overcome the fear of rejection. The insight here comes from the fact that they have overcome their fear of rejection not through the passing of time and the thickening of one's skin but rather from diversifying away their selling risk.

Much of your risk in sales comes from working with too few customers and prospects. Today's top business developers recognize this and have diversified away their account risk by working with more accounts and prospects.

Award yourself five points if you are completely "rejection proof". Consider yourself rejection proof when you are able to move through the sales process and feel that you have accomplished at least a small portion of your account goals in spite of less than favorable treatment on the part of a client or prospect.

If you only feel partially rejection proof, award yourself three points and if you feel customer and prospect actions largely control your mental attitude, award yourself one point.

Question 4: Have You Prepared Responses to Common Objectives in Advance?

Great business developers are prepared for each step in the sales cycle. They have well developed telephone scripts, great openings when they greet prospects at the club, they have objectives and questions prepared for each sales call, and have developed responses to common objections.

Award yourself five points if you have a well developed script prepared for your telephone solicitations. Award yourself an additional five points if you have developed a list of five, open ended questions that you use when trying to understand customer or prospect needs. Finally, award yourself an additional five points if you have developed an appropriate response to the major objections you receive on your sales calls.

If you are only partially prepared in a given area, award yourself three points. If you feel that your preparation in an area could improve a great deal, award yourself one point on that portion of the question.

Question 5: Can you Differentiate Your Health Club?

Great business developers have learned how to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. They can answer the question "why pick me?" posed by many prospects and customers.

Award yourself five points if you have a well-developed banner, or position statement in the marketplace. Your banner should answer the question "why pick you?" A great application of the banner concept is Rolaids and their slogan "how do you spell relief?" It is something they have become known for in the marketplace. A partial application of the banner concept is worth three points and a limited application of the banner concept is worth one point.

Award yourself an additional five points if you have taken the time to develop a series of five unique selling points. Remember, most sales are made after the fifth call and a series of five unique selling points will both support your banner and help you consistently differentiate yourself in the marketplace on each successive sales call. Each unique selling point is worth one point.

Question 6: Are You Truly Customer Focused?

Today's best business developers have a clear customer focus. Read the following quotation from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale in his book How to Stay Alive All of Your Life and determine how closely the quotation matches your selling style:

"Think first of helping Mrs. X (your customer). And to do that you must first get to know her and her family; study her needs. Do not think so much about putting her money in your pocket as putting your chair, which she needs, into her home. Do this with all of your customers. Think of them as people needing your goods instead of yourself needing their money. Find ways of helping them overcome their difficulties, and you will overcome your own in so doing."

If you feel that the magnitude of your customer focus equals or exceeds that described by Dr. Peale, award yourself five points. If you believe that you are customer focused some of the time and have an internal focus the remainder of the time, award yourself three points. If you believe that either you or your company largely have an internal focus, award yourself one point.

Question 7: Are You Self Deterministic?

Great business developers realize that their success is fully within their control. While there are external factors that clearly enter into the process, the great business developer focuses largely on things they can impact. They are always moving forward.

Stephen Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, described this best when he talked about one's "circle of influence" and "circle of concern". Your circle of concern contains all those things that you are aware of that you cannot change. Your circle of influence contains all those things that you are aware of that you can impact.

If you believe that most of your efforts focus on your circle of influence, give yourself five points. If you feel that your time is evenly divided between the circle of influence and the circle of concern, award yourself three points. Finally, if most of your time is spent in the circle of concern, award yourself one point.

How Did You Do?

Scoring: Included in the seven questions outline above are ten point awards. Each award has a maximum point value of 5. Total points that can be received on this test is 50. If your score was in excess of 35, consider yourself an excellent business developer. If your score was between 20 and 35, consider yourself a good business developer, but one with room for improvement. If your score was less than twenty, you have significant room for improvement on the business development front.

As we all know, business development, and professional sales skills in general, are learned skills. No matter how you scored in the foregoing test, there is always room for improvement. Business development and prospecting is a crucial part of the sales cycle. The better you are at business development and prospecting, the better you will be at selling. Look at your answers and scores on each portion of the test and determine your areas for improvement. The pursuit of sales excellence is certainly a worthy goal.

Note: If you would like a market planning, account planning or call planning documents that you can use or customize for use in your business, please contact us.

About the Author

Go to About Paul Goldner for more articles by him.

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