There are two ways to think about going after new business. One is to focus on what you can sell; the other is to focus on how you can serve. In my experience we are more successful at bringing in new business when we focus on the latter. A focus on service takes all the pressure off and opens up the opportunity for building stronger relationships. Relationships lead to the business deals, quite simply because we buy from the person we feel connected to.
If you consider a cold call or a networking meeting as an opportunity for finding out more about the person and what they need, it is much easier to pick up that phone or make that approach. It’s just a conversation not a pitch. We hate being sold to, but we welcome the opportunity to have our voice and our needs heard.
What if you discover there is nothing you or your company can offer? Perhaps you know some else who can help. Most PRs have an impressive network of contacts. Connecting dots and connecting people is a great way to serve. And you will be remembered for that.
“What do you need most in your business right now?” is a great question to start the conversation. It also opens up the space for that question to be asked of you. Your response? “I’m looking for people who need xxx” where the “xxx” is exactly the service you offer.
Recently at a speed networking session, we just asked that question. I met ten women, found two new clients and several advocates. I was also able to pass on details of my contacts to serve five of the women I met. Being of service works.
Procrastination and fear arise mostly because we are putting our focus on ourselves. When we turn our focus around, we also turn our fear into curiosity, our procrastination into action. When you go out of your comfort zone into your curiosity zone, something magic happens.
Every opportunity for a conversation needs to be taken in the spirit of curiosity and service. Every missed conversation is a missed opportunity to serve and be served; for your contact to pass on your details, to know about the kind of client you are looking for, to help you to meet the right people and grow your business.
At the same time as being in service to your contacts you need to stay in service to yourself. There is a direct correlation between being in service and achieving your goals and aspirations.
Your self worth is not your financial worth. You are so much more than the sum of the pieces of business you have won. The more you feel the joy (and see the results) of connecting and serving, the more worthy you will feel. You can’t measure self worth in ££££s, but it definitely shows up on the bottom line.
Not everyone you speak to will be ready for you. Just because they need publicity for their business does not mean they are ready to face that visibility. A lack of readiness on their part does not constitute a sales failure on yours. Stay in touch, stay curious and keep them in your network. Be there when they are ready. Learn to coach or guide them through their blocks to being ‘out there’.
There is a saying ‘if you are in business, you are in sales’. I much prefer ‘if you are in business, you are in service’ because it is a more collaborative approach to business development; the service mindset opens the door and keeps the conversation flowing.
Now, as you sit reading, thinking of being in service and thinking of those calls you know you need to make, thinking of the networking events you could be going to, the clients who you could have deeper conversations with about their needs; how much more comfortable is it to now pick up that phone? How much more interesting are networking events going to be? How much are you now looking forward to that client conversation?
About the Author
Tina Bettison uses her lifetime of media experience to guide those seeking to find and express their true voice on the page, stage, screen or radio. She also teaches media people how to help their clients overcome blocks to being visible, seen and heard. www.tinabettison.com contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Works Search and Selection specialise in placing mid - senior level roles in PR and corporate communications with some of the most exciting companies in London. Do get in touch if you think you're a highflyer looking for a step up or indeed if you need support with finding a hidden gem for your team.