You don’t need a great salesperson to move your business to the next level. In fact, a salesperson may actually weaken your business model.
Why? A salesperson is not a business development strategy.
When we talk about business development, a lot of us struggle. And a lot of us get it wrong.
Business development is NOT reliant on one person’s ability to connect with a potential client.
When you rely on a great salesperson to grow your business, you’re selling based on a single relationship — not based on the full business. And relationship selling is no way to grow your business. Here’s why:
Why One Connection Isn’t Enough
When your primary connection between your company and the client is a single relationship, you’ve created a fragile bond.
I call it the Bow Tie Effect.
The Bow Tie Effect happens when one salesperson exclusively communicates with a customer. The two of them work together and protect the rest of their teams from each other. In other words, “I don’t want all of my employees talking to all of your employees. We’ll work this out ourselves.”
This is called relationship selling.
Picture it like a Bow Tie. You have two companies hinged on a single relationship between salesperson and representative.
It’s a small, breakable connection. When a business deal relies on this breakable bond between two individuals, you’re highly likely to lose clients.
There’s a better way: Create as much overlap as possible.
How To Create A Stronger Bond Between Companies
We have a much more powerful tool at our disposal than relationship selling.
To really develop your business, you need to move away from a 1-to-1 relationship and move towards a many-to-many relationship between your company and your clients.
Flip the bow tie around and turn it into a diamond.
We need as many bonds between our companies and our clients as possible. Your marketing people need to talk to their marketing people. Your content people need to talk to their content people. Your accountants need to talk to their accountants.
The more connections you have, the harder it is to pull the relationship apart. You’re no longer depending on one salesperson to you keep you connected into your clients — your whole network is connected.
Think of it like building a bench. If you’re building a bench, you’re going to use more than one nail to connect the seat to the base. After all, it needs to be able to hold some weight. So you’ll likely find multiple places to connect the seat to the base and then use multiple screws to secure it.
Why? More connecting points and stronger connecting pieces make the bench sturdier.
The single nail is like relationship selling. It won’t take much for the bench to come apart if it’s all relying on one nail.
Effective business development is like the sturdy bench with multiple connecting points in key places that make it much stronger. That’s the kind of business relationship that lasts.
How To Move to a New Approach
How do we move from a Bow Tie to a Diamond?
Let’s say you’re prospecting for new clients. You meet a new potential client and have a great one-on-one conversation. Your job now is to use your initial connection to make more connections.
With business development as your motivation, you tell them, “We need to have another conversation, but I would like to include members of my team. Who on your team would need to join that conversation so we can get more out of it?”
This is a pivotal moment in business development. This is where we create the bonds between organizations. This is where we find the true value of the relationship… or not.
Because sometimes our clients don’t want these relationships. Sometimes, it’s not a good fit. Then, we can move on and sell to someone else.
True business development (not relationship selling) strengthens your connections, increases the likelihood that this relationship will last, and holds the potential to give you more value to your customers.
With more open communication, you have a better chance of actually understanding what clients need and creating something they can’t live without.
Don’t make the mistake of selling on a single relationship. Develop your business as a team. The more connections between your company and your clients, the better it is for everyone.