3 Ways Leaders Should Evaluate New Business Opportunities

2/19/2014

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Just because the potential client seems like a great customer for you, does not mean that the conditions are right for you to pursue or win their business. They might be thrilled with their current vendor, they might have bigger priorities at this time, or they might not see why they need what you are selling. So how do you evaluate these opportunities so that you can ensure that valuable time is spent pursuing opportunities that are really tangible.

Here are 3 ways to help you evaluate new business opportunities.

1. Make Sure the Conditions Are Right

How do you know if your client is ready and willing to consider a change or investment? You can use three simple questions to help evaluate conditions and determine if this opportunity is real.

  • “What happens if you don’t solve the client’s issue?”
    Both you and your potential client need to understand what happens if they do not go with your solution. They might determine it’s not a big deal, or might conclude it is really important. Either way, you simply want to uncover the truth. 

  • If they have an existing vendor, ask them “On a scale of 1-10 how do you feel about the current vendor?”
    If they LOVE their current vendor, that is good to know. If they are not thrilled with them, this is also valuable information. Once again, we just want to get to the truth.

  • “When is the absolute latest you need to have a solution, and why?”
    Getting a date is one thing, but the follow up question is the real power. When they tell you WHY that date is important, that often uncovers whether the solution is a “nice to have” or a “gotta have.”

The real key when asking these questions is to be an active listener. If the client does not seem to have a sense of urgency to solve their issue, then the forecast might be pretty bleak. If the only person who cares about the solution is the person selling it, then you better bring enough money to pay for the solution yourself.

It’s easy to be optimistic about a trip or business opportunity. 90% chance of rain also means a 10% chance of a dry day. But, you are better pursuing opportunities when the odds are in your favour. If the forecast looks ominous, then you might be better off pursuing another opportunity. 

2. Be Selective

In my book, Upside Down Selling, I share a case study of Excella Consulting who doubled their growth rate in the first year. What makes their story interesting is that they accelerated growth while pursuing dramatically fewer opportunities. And another client recently doubled their quarterly revenue, while offering fewer than half of the sales demos they gave the prior quarter. In fairness, simply doing less is not enough to get results.

You need a way to objectively review your opportunities and take emotion out of the evaluation.
When evaluating potential opportunities businesses too often only focus on demographic data. The most popular data include how many employees, how much revenue, or how many locations. While that data gives you some insight, here is a better approach. First, determine if the client has an issue worth solving. Once you determine the problem is worth solving, then focus on whether or not they are a TRUE fit.

3. Determine If There is a TRUE fit?

I created a spreadsheet tool to help identify whether or not an opportunity is a TRUE fit. It breaks opportunities into four categories:

T-erms: The Business terms

R-elationship: Are you on the inside or outside? Are they rooting for you? Are they confiding in you, or the preferred vendor they want to have help them?

U-pside: What is the potential to replicate, expand, reference, or create new business from this deal?

E-xpertise: How close does this project fit with your companies’ greatest strengths and strategic objectives?

Though the TRUE spreadsheet tool has a predefined set of parameters, you can tailor it with each client to suit their needs. Simply evaluate your client for each item on a scale from 1-10, and then see graphically how the opportunity fits with their needs.

I will happily share this valuable spreadsheet tool with you for free. To receive a copy of the spreadsheet, send me an email to TRUEFIT@growmyrevenue.com asking for the TRUE fit tool.

Follow the TRUE fit steps and you’ll quickly appreciate why the goal is finding the right fit, not getting a meeting.

- It’s Your Turn

What criteria do you find to be most valuable in determining if an opportunity is the right fit for you?

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Topics: Business