Partnerships and sales can be the lifeblood of your company, providing the potential to generate serious growth and revenue. When you've found your way into the door and are pitching a potential partner, it is crucial to minimize the risk of the deal not closing because of your poor performance. Therefore, being prepared, knowing what to say, how to say it, and being ready to handle hesitation are areas that you must nail down.
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In addition to a well thought out, mutually beneficial proposal, it is important to research your target partners. To me this is like prepping for an interview. Nothing worse than realizing that the person you are interviewing knows nothing about your company or the issues you are facing but at the same time tells you how “passionate” s/he is about your business. Try to figure out what is top of mind for your potential partner. Is it facing a particular competitive thread, has it had a major product launch failure, has the team that you are speaking to experienced a recent change of executives etc. There are so many possible reasons that might make you want to tweak your approach, change your timing, etc. It is always hard to know for sure what matters most, but I am a firm believer that solid preparation will help you produce better partnerships.
Meetings can be a colossal waste of time especially in a field that harbors speculative conversations like Business Development. When appropriate, one practice I use to maximize meeting efficiency is to email the meeting attendee(s) an agenda 2-3 hours prior to the meeting. These emails typically contain the meeting objective, an outline of what will be discussed, and any questions that I know that I’ll be asking.
At some point in a deal, partnership, or sale you’re bound to encounter request that you can’t accommodate. “Does your product have this feature too?” “Can we have it for this price instead?” There’s a right and a wrong way to handle these type of situations. Within the framework of striving to drive the most possible value for your company, the goal is to persuade the other side to maintain compliance despite the fact that you can’t accommodate a request.