Jonathan Viney from JV Consultancy Group shares the essential top three tips to consider when bringing on board new business.

When it’s tempting to take on new business to increase your turnover and sales which may have suffered during this time, think about how this will impact in the future. Is this new potential order similar to your current clients or something just to make up the numbers.

Potential Customer Analogy

It’s easy to fall for extra profit with these unprecedented times in business when you’re not sure what direction it is taking, or even if it will survive entirely. So the question is - is all new business, good business? It may seem strange to suggest that you should review new opportunities to see if they are worth pursuing, but it’s a progress worth considering.

Handshake

It’s a sad reality, you need to weigh up if you have a real chance of winning this new client. Think about the whole process that goes into this. The time it takes to try to win them can be costly to your business - sales teams could have been going after that business.

The other consideration is that the opportunity may have more costs for you, and therefore may not be as profitable. In some cases I've witnessed, at the first hello money was lost and had a negative impact on the company.

This is where you should take some time out, ideally with a small group with different perspectives within the business, to carry out what I would call an ‘Opportunity Assessment’. The assessment explores three key questions about you and your organisation.

Opportunity Just Ahead Sign

These depend on the size and complexity of the deal and can be done in a matter of a few minutes by following your gut instinct. In the long run these three areas to explore could save you thousands of pounds:

• Is it a Deal?
• Can we win it?
• Do we want it?

Delving deeper into these three questions the idea is to take your opportunity and sense check it against these. A good tip here is to be hard and fast about your answers so try and stick to a cold yes or no.

Is It A Deal?

• Does the customer have an absolute need?

• Is this need a real ‘pain point’ to the customer?

• Does the customer accept this need and pain point?

• Is there time pressure for a resolution?

• Is there budget available or access to funding?

Can We Win It?

• Do we have a solution?

• Is there a good solution fit?

• Do we have a good, current relationship with the customer?

• Do we have inside support/sponsorship?

• Have we got any Unique Business Value?

• Does the customer have a good perception of our company?

Do We Want It?

• Is the deal profitable?

• Does this deal comply with your short/mid/long term revenue and profit requirements?

• Can we afford to support it?

• Is there future revenue/profit potential?

• Is there any marketplace value and credibility to be gained by having this customer?

By now you will have a list of yes and no answers and even some ‘not sure’ answers. The first thing to do now is to get definite yes or no answers in place of the uncertain.

A simple way to do this is to class the ‘not sure’ answers as a no until you can validate the facts sufficiently to enable you to accurately class it as a firm yes.

Thumbs up, thumbs down

In some cases you may not be able to do this so our council to you is to carry on classing it as a no. 
At this stage the key thing to ask yourself is do you have enough yes’s in the areas of the assessment that you consider to be most important for you to be able to continue with the sale. 

We are fully aware of how harsh a sales opportunity assessment may appear at first - especially in the current business climate. But it does absolutely give you a reality check on your prospects and it enables you to populate your pipeline with facts.

Prospects

Our aim is to encourage you to move away from the comfort blanket of having lots of prospect names to a list of true, closable sales opportunities.

As we have said at the beginning, prospecting is hard work and resource hungry, so make sure that all your effort is rewarded by achieving the kind of sales that you want.

For the last 15 years JV Consultancy Group have enjoyed sharing out vast experience and success leading, building and even dismantling sales teams in B2B sales within SME businesses to global organisations. Win more customers, keep more customers and improve your profits is our manta.

To find out more information, head to jvcg.co.uk