Removing Risks From Your New Business Strategy

This article identifies the risks business developers often face and the strategies used to minimise them. Winning complex new business is achieved by the systematic removal of risks and the effective deployment of strengths. Risks can be sorted into manageable categories each with a recommended set of strategies:

  1. You have a very strong competitor
  2. You are a late comer into the contest
  3. You face barriers within your own organisation
  4. You have a powerful anti-sponsor in the account
  5. You have some credibility/reputation problems
  6. There is a lack of alignment amongst decisions makers
  7. Your are unsure who the decision makers are and how they feel about your proposal

As there is a wealth of information to cover, this edition will deal with the first three categories and next month will focus on the remaining four.

1. You have a very strong competitor

Having a strong competitor is not necessarily the risk. It’s what that competitor has to offer which presents the risk. It may be that they have a superior solution; they may have better credibility, or they may have stronger relationships with the decision makers.

Firstly, question whether you really do have an inferior solution. Be analytical – assess what attitude each decision maker holds towards your solution and look at the detail of their perceptions. If there are some gaps in your knowledge, find out what they think. Examine the whole list and decide if your solution is inferior. If you still feel it is, you have to take action in either two ways:

Improve your solution – This is your best option, however it is not always possible or it can come with unacceptable margin implications.

Change the game – Changing the game is a classic game theory response whenever you face a stronger contender. To change the game, you need to break your solution down into components. Re-examine your decision makers and understand how they rate you on each of the components. Group the components on which you are strong and make this the centre of the buyer’s consideration. Your sales strategy is now to change the game into one you can win. Stop selling what you were selling and start selling this stronger solution.

It should be noted that changing the game is usually only effective at the start of the selling process. If the process is advanced, the decision maker’s view of what they want will be too strong for you to change.

2. You are a late comer into the contest

The good news when an unexpected tender invitation arrives is that you haven’t expended any selling time or money on this opportunity until now. The not-so-good news is that it’s very possible that a competitor is already the front runner for this opportunity. The problem is compounded by the fact that tender responses often consume significant resources and take you away from other pro-active development work.

Your challenge is to decide if you are going to pursue this opportunity and if so, how. Firstly, you need to make a realistic assessment of the comparative importance of this opportunity. Secondly, assess the comparative cost of pursuing the opportunity, including the impact of putting other work aside while you prepare this tender response. Then assign a high, medium or low rating to both assessments.

The opportunity can then be plotted on the following matrix:

Importance | High | Go | Go | Rabbit |
|__________________________________________________________ | Medium | Go | Manage | Stop | | | | Resources | | |__________________________________________________________ | Low | Stop | Stop | Stop | |__________________________________________________________ | Low | Medium | High | |__________________________________________________________ Cost

In this matrix, there are four recommendations to consider:

  1. Stop – Simply, if the importance is low, don’t proceed. Similarly, if the importance is medium and the cost is high, it is recommended not to proceed.
  2. Go – If the importance is high and the cost is low or medium, go for it. Additionally, if the importance is medium and the cost it is low, it’s worth pursuing.
  3. Rabbit – If the importance is high, the cost is high and you are late into the process, you need to pull a rabbit out of the hat! This may mean sharpening your pencil, leveraging a special relationship more vigorously, or finding a silver bullet. If you can’t capitalise on one of these options, your risk of not achieving a return on your tendering investment is high.
  4. Manage resources – You need to keep an eye on the resources you put into this opportunity, whilst maintaining your prospecting activity. You cannot let this become an all-consuming opportunity and must manage the consumption of your selling resource to the potential of the opportunity.

3. You face barriers within your own organisation

Many developers who have attended our workshops tell us that this is often their biggest challenge. We have a few simple but effective strategies:

  • Include the executives you need to persuade in your big picture analysis. Treat them like decision makers inside your client organisation and understand their personal and business motivations.
  • Involve the executives in your selling strategy as early as you can, even if they are not yet fully committed to supporting your proposal. As a sense of the hunt develops in their mind, they start to convince themselves that it is worth winning. Executives not usually involved in business development love to be asked for help.
  • Use your internal coaches to do the persuading for you. Sometimes they will be more effective than you.

4. You have a powerful anti-sponsor in the account

If you believe this to be the case, it is wise to investigate and uncover the following factors:

  • Their lack of support for you
  • Why they don’t support you
  • Their degree of influence in the decision
  • Who they are supporting

Ideally, you want to convince this decision maker that they should support your solution. However, if you are a long way into the sales process, this may not be possible.

If you believe this decision maker can’t be turned around, it may be better to stay away from them as they are likely to be supporting your competition. With true anti-sponsors, trying too hard can give them more data to use against you and/or increase their motivation to support their favoured option.

5. You have some credibility/reputation problems

If you find yourself with credibility or reputation problems, there are three things you can do:

Face the problem directly – don’t try and hide from it – Organisations learn from their mistakes. Be prepared to talk about what you have learnt and how you have put this knowledge into place for the benefit of your clients. Sound confident and welcome the opportunity to respond.

Re-frame the problem into consequences rather than attributes – Ask the decision makers why a particular credibility or reputation issue concerns them. Record their responses and deal with those rather than the negative attribute itself. Talk about those things that you now do to make sure that it is not a problem going forward. A negative successfully turned around can become a strong positive.

Find decision makers who support the corrective action you have taken – There are almost always decision makers who support actions your organisation has taken to overcome shortcomings. Leverage off the positive comments these buyers are prepared to make on your behalf.

6. There is a lack of alignment amongst decisions makers

There is a lack of alignment when the decision makers do not agree on the nature of the problem that you propose to fix. If however, there is consensus on the nature of the problem but there is disagreement on the type of solution required, action is needed to rectify this.

The biggest risk associated with a lack of alignment amongst decision makers is that the deal may never happen. The ‘do nothing’ outcome wins by default. Many opportunities with Government suffer this fate.

As an aside, your big picture strategy must contain a completion date. If there is no client imposed completion date, impose one on yourself. If you do not have a completion date, you never know if you are losing to the ‘do nothing’ outcome.

Ultimate decision maker

Where does the ultimate decision maker sit on this issue? This is the most important consideration. The solution provider who has the ultimate decision maker on side is best placed. This is where your selling effort should be focused.

Engage at the concept level

If time permits, you may need to go back to basics with the decision makers and engage them in discussion about what the problem is and what types of solutions are possible. This will require some courage and deep understanding of your client’s business. Executed well however, and it positions you as the real consultant and ahead of your competition.

Group decision makersIf there are many decision makers, it is likely that they will group into two or three solution camps. A good big picture analysis will show you how they group, which group favours your solution and which group has the power.

7. Your are unsure who the decision makers are and how they feel about your proposal

This risk is a clear indicator that your selling effort and/or big picture is incomplete. There is no substitute for getting face to face with all the decision makers. This is a two step process.

Identify – You need to ensure that your big picture identifies all the decision makers on this deal. Use the decision makers who are your strong supporters to validate that you have all the names. Get them to confirm your understanding of their level of influence and where you stand in terms of their support for your proposal.

Prioritise – Once you know who has the influence and who supports your proposal, make it a priority to work on those with high influence who don’t yet support your proposal. Be wary of approaching the anti-sponsors. You also probably need to stop spending time with low influence decision makers.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from your strong supporters. People are usually pleased to help promote a solution they want to see implemented. They can also give you advice and open doors that might otherwise be closed.

Business Development Strategy – Next Years Planning

I’m amazed at how each year slips by just a little more quickly.

Only a few weeks ago I was running the San Juan River in Utah – blazing sunshine and ninety degrees in the shade. Now it’s Fall already. And hey, I live in Southern California – in some places it’s almost winter. Friends of mine back East are talking about 30 degree temperatures – or colder. Even snow flurries.

Blink – and it will be November, then Thanksgiving, and right its heels – New Year’s. All of which is great if you love to ski, or snowshoe…

Which brings me to every businessperson’s favorite indoor sport – planning.

Each year around this time I urge clients to dust off last year’s business plan and compare it to what is really going on. Because many people – believe it or not – forget what they committed to for the year. Oh – they know their sales and profit projections – but most people don’t pay close enough attention to the other issues. Things like market development, new customer growth, distributor relationships, customer services improvements, even new products: all the things that make it possible for a businesses to grow and prosper year after year.

If you haven’t done so recently, now is a great time to review this year’s results, and plan for the coming year. Take a look at how you are doing compared to how you hoped you would do. It doesn’t matter what month you are in – just compare your results to date to this month last year. And if you’ve already built next year’s plan, you may want to consider it in a new light.

The typical approach to planning goes like this:

Start by setting a goal for next year’s sales growth.

This figure is often arrived at by multiplying last year’s results by some acceptable factor. In business school they taught us to use 10% if we didn’t have a better idea. This ten percent shows up again and again – I think it has something to do with having ten fingers. Standards vary from industry to industry – ranging from 5% to 25%. But in today’s economy, many people will consider it a win if they just remain even with where they were last year.

Next, add solutions to a few key problems you’ve been meaning to address. Follow this by some enhancements to your product line – and there you have it – instant plan!

Those of you who’ve read my book know that I encourage people to think differently.

Here’s a process I’ve used with all kinds of clients; it has led to some truly inspiring – and profitable – results:

Step 1

What do you – in your heart of hearts – want to accomplish this coming year? The key words here are “want to do.” Not what do you think will happen, not what will the market let you do, but what do you want to do.

When you answer this question, it does help to think about things like money – revenue, profits, cash-flow (as if anyone wouldn’t) – but also consider other non-monetary details as well.

Think about what new products or services you’d like to introduce, what markets you’d like to branch into, how you’d like to improve your relations with customers, how many new distributors you’d like to add, how you will make thing better for your employees, partners, even your community, and of course, what lifestyle and “work- style” changes you’d like for yourself.

For each of the targets and goals you are about to set – why do you want to set these targets. Make sure your reasons strongly support you.

Step 2

Learn what you can from whatever has happened over this past year. This is something many of us simply don’t do.

For example, make this year the year you act on the knowledge that it takes three months to train a new distributor, not the four weeks you generally plan for. You’d be surprised at how many entrepreneurs repeat variations on the same mistakes over and over again.

Deliberately capturing the lessons of the past year, and thinking about how to use that new knowledge can provide major opportunities to boost profits.

Step 3

Set targets which will inspire you and your team and get out of bed every morning (even when it’s snowing.)

Instead of using that 10% multiplier – or 25% or whatever – come up with growth numbers that you believe in and which will make it all worthwhile. Say you are committed to 35% growth. But you’ve never had more than 15%. Well how are you going to do that? What would it take? Is it possible? If you believe it is, but you don’t know how yet, don’t worry. You’ll tackle that in a minute.

Step 4

Now is the time to review changes in your market.

Are there new factors – changes in customer buying behavior, shifts in the demographics, new issues in your industry and fresh competitor activity? Consider how these changes will make it easier or harder to achieve your bold targets.

Do any of these changes cause you to rethink the targets you’ve set? If so, go back and make adjustments you feel are necessary.

If you’d like a list of the kinds of questions I ask businesses, send an email to [email protected].

Step 5

Figure out how to reach the targets in Step 3.

How can you achieve the targets you just set? Do you know how? Will that plan work? You may have to work backwards using the Merlin Method. (For those of you who don’t know, Merlin was a wizard who was born old and lived his life getting younger. What he called seeing the future was really just looking into his own past.) So use this idea to create action plans.

This is the method I use successfully with my consulting clients to transform their businesses. I’ll give you a quick overview:

Visualize those bold targets as already met. Looking back from the future to the present, ask what was the final step or milestone you achieved before completing the goal? And what was the step before that? And before that? All the way to the present day. Check for reasonableness.

That’s your action plan.

Believe me, this works! Do this for each of your targets and goals, then execute that plan, and you can almost guarantee a breakthrough year.

In a future article, I’ll write more about the critical success factors you need to review.

Best regards,

MLM Recruiting Tips for Your Network Marketing Business – Develop Your Ninja Strategy

Having trouble recruiting for your MLM opportunity? It is really not your wrong doing, and you’re not the only one…

An enormous number of entrepreneurs are unquestionably having difficulties with the same constant fight to try to recruit new distributors into their Multilevel marketing business opportunity.

They drop by to see their friends and family with some products and try to sell an opportunity to make lots of income through selling goods and recruiting and mess the whole thing up simply because they’re not good at introducing the Multilevel marketing principle effectively.

That being said I want to help you in developing a completely new reverse Ninja strategy that will have your personal network exploding by the end of this month.

Ninja Strategy: Avoid Bringing Up Your MLM Company & Products!

The truth is, you should never mention your company or products when contacting a prospective distributor about your MLM company. You shouldn’t focus on health goods, skin care, juices, insurance (or what ever your primary opportunity sells.)

And you should never even bring up your company’s name until your prospect really grasps the concept of Multilevel marketing!

Your prospect must appreciate precisely how Multi-level Marketing is proven to work and just how they’ll be able to use leverage to make extra money for themselves. It is then, and only then, that they will understand the big picture and you’ll be able to finally introduce the company that you use to make income in this way.

Do you see the significant difference? Instead of pitching your opportunity up-front, you begin by selling the concept of Multi-level marketing and how it produces residual income through leverage first – and then introduce your company merely as the vehicle that you use to get to the end result.

The reason that this unique Ninja strategy works so effectively is due to the fact most people will never get pumped up about the business or products that you sell, but more about the possibilities of residual income and leverage that the Multilevel marketing business model offers.

Ninja Duplication…

This is the true power of this reverse Ninja approach.

It is essential for your prospect to understand that you’re going to show them as well as teach them how to use this strategy to build their organization so that they don’t go through the difficulties of building their downlines by pitching products as well as their business first.

And as soon as you sponsor a prospect into your company using your new strategy, and they see how you did it, they are going to copy that method with their downline and you’ve set into motion a Ninja strategy which is going to skyrocket your business tremendously.

Therefore it is essential that you take some time with your new recruit to teach them the way you use this approach of explaining the idea of MLM to their full advantage.

How to Explain the MLM Concept Effectively…

Certainly, the simplest way to explain the MLM concept correctly is through 3rd party reviews such as articles or videos…

In other words, an evaluation that isn’t attached to your MLM Network marketing business in any way. Merely an outside point of view which thoroughly and positively explains MLM in a simple and easy to comprehend format together with images that clarify the idea.

Internet-Based Movies Are The Most Effective!

A captivating video tutorial will be your best friend… And and critical thing to understand in MLM is the INVITE. Regardless of whether to watch a recorded video that you send out, attend a hotel meeting, or have a look at an internet video… Here’s the simplest way to do it:

With Warm Market:

You: “Hey Stanley, a business colleague just sent me something that I think you should look at… What’s your email address? I’ll send it over right now… It’s going to take about 20 mins to go through and I think you’ll find it intriguing like I did… I’ll call you right back after you watch it.”

Call back in a half hour and let them know that you have the ideal vehicle for taking advantage of this business concept and set a time to stop by and show them a business opportunity presentation or perhaps send them to your web page where they’ll get more facts.

Critical! – Invite to an area meeting THAT WEEK to allow them to get the big picture as soon as possible.

Step 3 is extremely important… Your goal through the overall process leads to getting them to a meeting for them to see the opportunity in a bigger light and meet other marketers in the business already and listen to their testimonies…

Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut!

Just go and take action! You’ll find that there’s simply no greater way to find out if some thing works for you than to test it for yourself… If you are struggling with your prospecting, get your hands on an internet based video and start sharing it with your downline and get ready for explosive growth.

A fantastic online video that we have been using without fail in our Ninja recruiting strategy is called Brilliant Compensation and was created by Network marketing expert Tim Sales.

He’s used this video to build up a $25 Million Dollar organization with over 56,000 people! This video explains MLM compensation like no other that That I’ve ever seen.

It may be shared through emails, and even embedded on your blog or website and it has changed the way we build our home business with incredible success.