The NEW 5 Ps of Business Development

Collaboration Constrains Commoditization Many years ago, when I was in grad school, we spent many hours analyzing how the traditional 4 Ps of business marketing – Products, Pricing, Promotion, and Physical distribution – could be leveraged to strengthen competitive advantage and compel customers to purchase our products.  Later, the 4 Ps became the 5 Ps when it was realized that execution of the 4 Ps requires competent, dedicated People. These days, rapidly evolving technology is …

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Producing Promised Value

Winning When Your Customer Does Early in my career, one customer abruptly ended a meeting when I spent more time talking than I did listening.  He said, “We’ve been meeting for more than 15 minutes and you have not yet asked a question about my business, my goals or my problems.  I don’t need your products – I need solutions.  Come back when you can add value to our discussion.” This was a tough but …

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“Build Your People and They Will Build Your Company”

Empowering Your People To Create Value In today’s economy, we are evermore dependent on technology to accelerate responsiveness, increase productivity and enhance service.  Yet as our dependence on technology grows, so does our thirst for human connection.  This phenomenon is called the “High Tech-High Touch” trend, first described in the early 1980s by John Naisbitt in his book MegaTrends.  Just recall a time when you had a crisis or critical question, but could not connect …

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Customers Care More About “Why” Than “What”

  Committing To Core Principles Customers care more about “why” you seek their business than “what” you do.  They want to buy the “why”- the commitment, the unique promise you offer – rather than your product or service.  Since customers care only about the strategic value you produce for their business, describing why working with you generates a quantifiable, distinctive advantage for them creates a more compelling, emotional connection. The “why” you do business in …

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Your Unique Promise Is Your Brand

Keeping Promises Strengthens Your Differentiation The ever evolving technology that we rely upon every day seduces us with its productivity benefits.  To respond with urgency and compete effectively, we need to leverage the technology available to us.  On the other hand, technology’s seductive influence accelerates commoditization, challenging us to continuously strengthen our differentiation and consistently act in accordance with our unique offering. Your unique offering is actually a promise to leverage your competitive advantage to …

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“After The Thrill Is Gone…”

Is Passion Still Essential In Business? My friend, who is responsible for new business development at a major tech company, was complaining about the rate of technological evolution the other day. “These days, we barely get a long weekend of product exclusivity,” he grumbled. Today’s rapid technological turnover requires all hands on deck to fight the commoditization trend!  It’s not enough to have owners or senior management being the only ones proposing new ideas or …

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Are You A Vendor or A Partner For Your Core Customers?

You are a vendor when: • You respond to inquiries with quotations that specify product or service, price, terms and schedule, without first seeking to understand how you can produce strategic value for your customer; • Your dialogue with your customer focuses on their current problem, and how you are cheaper, better or faster than your competitors; • You communicate nothing that describes your distinctiveness nor proposes a means for your customer to evaluate your unique offering; • Your …

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Who Are Your Core Customers?

The most productive means of achieving sustained growth performance is to help your core customers build their business. Who are your core customers?  If you don’t know, isn’t time to find out? The most useful description of “core customers” I’ve seen is Robert Bloom’s (The Inside Advantage) who defines them as customers who purchase your product or service in quantities that optimize your profitability. Start by assessing what has worked to build your business…from the perspective of your …

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Collaborate or Be Commoditized!

Welcome! Each week, I post new blog content featuring exercises that stimulate reflection about your growth performance and challenge you to create action in the coming week. During the past few years, you’ve cut costs and made your operations leaner.  You’ve pocketed the one-time marginal profit increase.  What’s next?  The challenge of achieving sustained profitability through top-line growth, and this must be earned! In our world of increasing commoditization, strengthening your differentiation is vital.  Materials …

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Getting Paid

Sales folks are most often compensated for the orders they book. This makes sense – without orders, there is no business. But getting the order is only part of what makes your business successful. Getting paid for the order is what defines a profitable contract. Positive cash flow is compulsory for every business. Proficient salespeople realize that they share responsibility for ensuring that their company gets paid for every order they book. Make your payment …

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