2 out of 11 from 30,000
These are the Big Three in most any business development: 1. product knowledge, 2. tools, and 3. trust and relationship building. The business wise say number three is the most important, but isn’t it funny that most of our time, money, and energy are spent on one and two?
Product knowledge and tools can be implemented faster. You can learn and dispense bullet points pretty quickly, and techniques and technology are fun to pull out and make us feel powerful. But still, everyone says number three is most important. Well, Warren Buffet would agree. After all, he did a multimillion dollar deal on a handshake. But the slow and laborious process of building trust came before the handshake. That’s what keeps business growing, not the quick and easy stuff.
And here’s the real kicker—we’ve all heard it before—but this time let’s examine it more closely—the one about less is more. My case in point today is a trade show with 30,000 attendees. My question was, “Who is our ideal prospect?” Sure, we’ll still talk to the good—but out of the thousands, who is great?
Don’t hyperventilate to discover that out of 30,000 attendees, only 11, not 11,000, but 11 fit the ideal profile. Out of the 11, we got nine appointments, and of the nine, two had projects that fit our business scheme. But those two ideal clients paid for the cost of the entire trade show and much more. Those two future, nurtured relationships will become deeply returned investments.
Fear of scarcity could have meant trying harder for the 29,989—and missing the eleven, the nine… and the ultimate two. The only way to reap this jewel of the wise is to know and like who you are as a business in the first place. A few weeks ago I met just such a prototype in the apparel industry. He told the story of two guys who had a dream, a vision of carving a niche that led to becoming the sole supplier and private label for uniforms for, among others, a major fast food household name. These guys know who and what they are, and they pursue their boutique identity with refreshing vigor.
As a producer, I have to be a fan of helping people embrace who they are, building the right relationships, and tracking the right metric. Anything less just leads to life inside someone else’s foxhole from a point of view that blinds you to the actual landscape. When we dare to stand outside we can more readily see who we are and find the courage to pursue scarcity.