Francesca sought me out. She was worried.
She had been in the corporate world for many years and had become very tired of it. She had recently purchased an engineering consulting business and failure was not an option.
As a professional engineer, however, she had never been involved with sales at the large corporations where she had been employed. She had certainly never darkened the doors of the marketing department, nor taken part in any conversations that would serve to enlighten her on the topic. She felt like she was completely out of the loop.
Francesca was a widow with three children, two in university, and she had no time to lose. She could not wait the three to five years that her colleagues told her it would take to generate the revenue she needed. And yet, Francesca was concerned about her own ability to market herself and to close business when she was in front of a prospect. She wondered how she was going to build her network and create referrals when she knew nothing about the process. She was also worried that she was not really a “people person.”
In short, Francesca knew that she was ill-prepared for a perilous journey. And she asked her network about getting help. A member of my network was able to connect Francesca with me during a referral marketing program that I was delivering for the Engineering Association of which Francesca was a member. When Francesca and I met to review her situation, she shared with me her determination to acquire some new business development skills. And she wanted to start immediately.
I asked Francesca if she had the funds to support her family for the next year as she grew her networking, referral-building and sales-closing skills. Was she truly prepared for this journey? Francesca assured me that she was able to proceed. She had received an ample insurance settlement from her late husband’s death, with which she had purchased the consulting business and she had set up a nest egg for her family.
I suggested to Francesca that if she needed more funds, there were many avenues available to her for alternate sources of financing. My network of business bankers, government-backed banks (known in Canada as BDC), mortgage specialists and factoring professionals was available to help her if and when she needed support.
I then asked her if she was willing to dedicate 20 hours a week to new business development for as long as she wanted to own her business. I reminded her that this dedication to the new business development process would be ongoing.
Through the intensive training and coaching program I was going to set out for her, she would develop a mindset that would incorporate new business development activities into each and every day of her life. As she grew her new business development acumen, habits and plans, and developed the relationships that would serve her going forward, the results would follow.
In the long run, Francesca would come to enjoy new business development. She would meet her goals and be a proud partner in business relationships that supported both her pocketbook and her soul.
Next week’s tip will be about an Introduction to the 22 Saboteurs from Stop the Saboteurs: Conquer Negative Thoughts that Hurt Your Revenue and Your Brand.