Business Development Series Posted by David McDermott

If your aim is to adopt a more consultative approach to business development, by demonstrating to your clients and prospects that you can add true value, then avoid the following most common mistakes.

1. Starting off with the history lesson

This is where you start the meeting by telling the client all about your firm e.g. “We were founded in 1965, we have offices all over the world and we have 1500 employees etc”. Doing this is like slinging mud against the wall hoping some will stick. It rarely does!

There is a time to “tell” when consulting – it should follow a thorough diagnosis of client challenges and needs.

Any features of your business should be clearly stated as a benefit to the client and linked to a solution that meets their needs. For example, “You said that you have had problems with volatility and would like to address this issue. We can help you via our ABC multi solutions fund…”

2. Asking too many factual questions

If most of your questions seek factual information then they will eventually irritate your client or prospect and will be perceived as wasting time. Factual questions don’t add value and don’t influence the client’s perceptions. You should know a lot of the factual information from your research. It is these facts that can shape more probing questions into client challenges.

For example, “I see from your website that many of your clients are based in South East Asia, what challenges does that give you?”

3. Proposing a solution too quickly

It’s very tempting, when a client reveals a problem or challenge that you may want to suggest a solution there and then. A consultative approach will develop the clients thinking further by asking supplementary questions. These questions will explore the potential impact of these challenges and ultimately lead to needs.

4. Leaving the meeting with all the work to do

If you leave the meeting with all the work to do then this demonstrates no commitment from the client side. Ensure that the client has something too. This means they are investing time in working with you. The more they invest, the more committed they become.

Now you know the most common mistakes when consulting with clients to demonstrate value and win their business, read our edoZone article that sets out our top tips to ensure a successful consultative approach to business development.

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