Bringing in new clients and customers is both an art and a science. Winning a new business deal takes work and planning — you can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. Whether you are a new business looking to recruit new clients, or a more established company that needs to bring in more customers, you can get better at winning the deal. Here are eight tips to help you win a business deal, from sending promotional gifts to learning when things go wrong:
1. Frame it in win-win terms.
Lots of people go into business deals with a win-lose perspective (i.e., I win money and the client loses it when they pay me for my work). However popular this approach may be, it can create an unnecessarily hostile and fraught environment that puts potential business partners on edge. Instead, try to view things as a win-win situation and focus on what potential clients are also getting out of this. By taking their perspective, you will be able to better negotiate and present things in a more positive and cooperative light, which will create a more pleasant experience for potential clients and make them more likely to do business with you.
2. Consider alternative outcomes.
Speaking of win-win solutions, try to brainstorm other potential outcomes before beginning negotiations. For instance, let’s say you are a marketing firm trying to win over a new account. In an ideal situation, you would take over all their marketing efforts, from printing physical mailers to redesigning their website. But this isn’t the only option that is on the table. For instance, the client could contract with a web-specific agency to handle the digital piece, while asking your agency to handle other aspects of the marketing. It’s less work than the original scenario, but still better than no work. By being open to other potential options, you increase your odds of bringing in new work.
3. Identify how you are different from the competition.
If you can’t identify how your business is better than competitors, then your potential partners sure can’t. Take a deep dive into your industry and compare and contrast your business with those of your closest competitors. For each competitor, try to identify several ways that you are different (and, hopefully, superior), whether that is your fast delivery times, stellar customer service, or affordable prices. Being able to set yourself apart from the competition is key for securing business deals!
4. Choose your first offer carefully.
In negotiations, the first offer provides the anchor point for the following discussion. Thus, you should try to be the first one to put a number on the table — and you should choose that number strategically. If you are the buyer, give a smaller number than your target figure, and if you are the seller, give a higher one. That will give you room to maneuver up or down accordingly while setting the tone of the negotiations early on.
- Know company policies about accepting gifts.
Many companies like to woo potential and current clients with branded merchandise and experiences. While this strategy can be effective, it’s important to note that some businesses have policies in place that prohibit the receipt of certain corporate gifts. Sometimes the policy forbids all vendor gifts outright, while others put a monetary cap on it — so branded pens might be fine to give away, but an all-expenses-paid company trip to Hawaii is not. Always know the gift policy for the clients you are trying to woo so that your gifts don’t go to waste.
6. Ask for referrals.
Your current clients are your best source of future business. Having a referral automatically gives you a foot in the door, so don’t be shy about asking for one! Start with clients that you already have a strong relationship with, which can make asking for a referral a little less awkward. Many clients are more than happy to connect you with more potential clients if they are happy with your goods or services. Consider offering a reward for referrals, such as a discount code, to incentivize clients to spread the word for you.
7. Constantly strive for improvement.
You can’t just coast for the rest of your days once you finally sign a new client. Unless you want to lose your new business, you need to work on continually improving your company so that you will stay competitive with the rest of your industry. If you don’t, then your competitors certainly will. Before you know it, your clients will be defecting to better services that are constantly iterating. Winning business isn’t something that happens once; you need to do it continually via steady improvements.
8. Learn why you lost out on business.
If you do lose out on a contract, then you can stop it from happening again by investigating why the potential client went with a competitor and not you. If you developed a good relationship during the negotiating process, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or advice on what you could have done differently. If you left things in good standing, most clients will be willing to provide a brief explanation of why your competitor beat you out. Once you understand what the other company is doing better than yours, you can proactively shore up your weaknesses to ensure that you do better next time around.
Bring in the Business
Follow these tips to get better at winning business deals for your company. With some practice and hard work, you can increase your success rate and bring in more business for your company. Don’t forget to always improve, and your hard work will pay off in the end.