Business Development Consultant –The Dilemma of a Shrinking Market Place

Many companies are facing a shrinking market-place and they are turning to me as a Business Development Consultant to overcome this dilemma.  Using two recent case studies let me explain what to do and what not to do…

Case Study 1 – “I’m too proud to change” – What not to do
For the past year, I’ve received calls from a number of people who own a franchise in the market sector for outsourced “Cost Reduction”.   Each one required a business development consultant to help them solve the dilemma of a shrinking market place.  Yet I had to turn away each and every one of these prospects because they forgot the golden proverb that – “Pride comes before a fall”.

 In 2008, when the western markets collapsed, the requirement for cost reduction was at its peak.  Just about every business across the UK from giant PLCs to the smallest SME were seeking to reduce costs wherever possible.

For the wily entrepreneurs in the cost reduction market, this was an opportunity to seize the moment and grab the big wins, along with a major share of the market.  For a short while, it was a boom market – but businesses across the UK have reacted sharply and the market is now shrinking rapidly for outsourced cost reduction.

Pride is a very dangerous character-facet in business.  Whilst I could not say that everyone in the cost reduction business has too much pride, everyone who called me so far is still trying to relive the boom period of 2-3 years ago.

So why are these people going wrong and why couldn’t I help them?  The problem is that these are highly intelligent people, but their pride is preventing them from taking advice from a Business Development Consultant.  Let me give an analogy – I’m now 40-something and I’m not as fit as I was in my 20s.  The truth is that as I get older, it will take more effort on my part to gain the same level of fitness that I enjoyed in my youth.  As long as I accept this simple truth and as long as I’m prepared to put in more effort – then hiring a sports coach would no doubt yield good results.  So do the expenditure reduction boffins realise that their market is getting older and less responsive?

The problem here is that these cost-reduction franchise owners are working on a false premise.  They are grasping at straws. In a bean-counter mentality they are attempting to bring back the “glory days” based on false metrics.  They argue that if x number of people make y number of telephone calls that this will lead to z number of appointments and sales.  Of course, in a shrinking market, historical metrics are irrelevant and the answer is to “work harder and work smarter”.

It is of no use to argue with a sports coach – that he should return you to a state of your youth at the age of 45, without a lot of hard work.  A good sports coach will know the fastest way to do this – but no one should expect miracles.  A good Business Development Consultant can help you to bring your sales back up to good levels in a shrinking market – but this can only be achieved if one starts by being honest about the input required.

Case Study 2 – If you seek an expert, don’t ignore their advice – how to do it right
A number of months ago I was approached by the Directors of an engineering company.  They were setting up a new division to approach the carbon-reduction market.  They knew full well that the market was reaching maturity, so they sought out an expert to make sure that they succeeded.  They asked me to be blunt but constructive in my criticism.  They asked me to formulate a plan that involved me helping to win new business as fast as possible.

With no pride getting in their way, they stated “we hired your services, so we would be fools to ignore your advice”.  Low and behold, within days the plan was put in to place and the first customer was found and a sale made.

This client has since gone on to review their entire direct marketing strategy including telemarketing, direct mail and email marketing.  I helped them by undertaking Consultative Telemarketing and the results have been rapid.  Listening, learning and acting took their direct mail from Zero responses to 2% in a matter of weeks.  Now we’re discussing how to move their mailers to gain up to 30% response-rates with the next plan.

The market for this company is shrinking.  Every day, more companies enter the market-place and more clients have already completed the carbon-reduction works.  Yet by fine-tuning their approach, they are still on-track to winning £millions in orders.  These chaps will go far.  They constantly innovate and they work “hard and smart”.  As a Business Development Consultant my advice has already reaped rewards and paid for itself within a few months.  As a hands-on Telemarketing Consultant, they have given me free-rein to use my skills to make sales-winning appointments.

Conclusions on The Dilemma of the Shrinking Market Place
The moral of the tale – don’t hanker for the glory days and don’t try to “direct” business development if it’s not your strong point.  If brain surgery is not your skill, would you seriously try to operate on someone’s brain?  Commerce is a serious business and if you get it wrong, your business may not survive. 

A Business Development Consultant is akin to a brain-surgeon for business.  Get your strategy and tactics right and you can win in almost any market place.  Listen to advice.  Go and mull over the advice and if it’s good – use it!  Every single national leader and captain of industry will be guided by experts.

As a freelance Business Development Consultant my costs are a fraction of hiring a full-time expert.  If you’re serious about winning in business, then why not contact me?  I can provide you with testimonials of astonishing success in Business Development – or testimonials demonstrating phenomenal growth via Consultative Telemarketing.  I look forward to hearing from you – Stephen Law 0870 042 1263 stephen@sl-freelance.co.uk .

Stephen Law is a Business Development expert. Over a 25 year period, Stephen worked has worked from a Foot Canvasser and Telemarketing Junior in the 1980s to an Executive Director and Company Secretary in the 1990s. Stephen's sales and marketing career spanned the IT, Communications and Technology sectors, where he was always top in his field. Stephen has also been head of Manufacturing, HR, and R&D for a number of organisations. In 2005, Stephen decided to form his own company offering Business Development via Consultative Telemarketing. Few people enjoy telemarketing as much as Stephen and fewer still understand how to communicate effectively with senior decision makers. Stephen is an Associate Partner of the No1 UK Business Development Agency and an Honorary Director at the LCDA for Business Development, where he has taught the Art of Selling at London South Bank University.

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