The art of business development is identifying and creating relationships that lead to increased revenue for your business.
Relationships may include business organization memberships, partnerships between one or more entities or simply one-on-one referral relationships.
For most successful businesses, business development is a combination of all the above. Here are 10 business development activities you should be doing today.
- Ask for referrals, from your clients (current and former), non-competing peers, friends, neighbors and other influencers in your network. Acknowledge your appreciation by thanking all of those who refer business to you.
- Join an organization (i.e., Rotary Club, industry/trade association, local chamber of commerce, etc.) where your target clients are likely to be members.
Get involved with the organization, beyond just attending meetings. Join a committee, become a leader in the organization and network often with members.
Once members get to know you and build a relationship with you, they are likely to contact you when they’re ready to do business.
- Become a good networker. Networking is about getting to know others and their needs so you can connect them to potential clients and influencers that will help their business grow. They will return the favor!
- Become a good social networker. Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter). Publish great content that is helpful, informative, insightful and relevant to readers. Engage with your followers.
- Always carry current, clean and organized business cards in ample supply.
- Use easy-to-review infographics as part of your sales arsenal. Infographics are memorable and easy for prospective clients to refer to when calling you for more details.
- Remember important dates, including client business anniversaries, vacation trips, births and other important happenings in your network’s business and life. Keep a calendar to help you remember to send them a short note or bring it up in conversation when you see them.
- Host an open house at your business. Invite an eclectic group of people who will benefit by meeting and conversing with each other.
Think of helping others to connect with prospective clients and influencers, as well. Develop a brief welcome to “break the ice” and get the conversations started.
- Have a clear understanding of your business offerings and be able to confidently and concisely share at a moment’s notice.
- Be curious. Get to know your prospective and current clients, their goals, their fears and their reason for existing in business. When you know them, you are in a great position to help them.
One additional note: Remember Alliant National is a great resource to advise and educate independent agents on business development best practices.
To say we live in a “communication environment” is an understatement! We have so many communications options that it’s often challenging for businesses to know the most effective and efficient tools to use to reach their target audiences.
Investing in public relations and content marketing is an essential aspect of brand success. Here we offer three articles to get you thinking about ways to energize PR for your business.
Real Estate Corner:
Less than half of homebuyers and sellers between the ages of 35 and 44 believe real estate is a better long-term investment than the stock market, according to a survey from Redfin and detailed in the article from The Title Report:
You are looking at a photo of a house on Mexico Beach, Florida which was the location that Cateogry 4, Hurricane Michael, made landfall on October 10, 2018.
Almost all of the homes surrounding this home were built to 1970s Category 3 hurricane standards set by the local government. You can see what happened to them. Catastrophic destruction.
This particular home was built “for the big one.” In this case, a Category 5 hurricane standard, able to sustain winds of 250 miles an hour and very high storm surges.
The owners of this home took the time to think for themselves and choose to work with different standards, higher standards, so they could cope more effectively with the new set of threats being created by climate change.
Given the picture above, here’s the question to ask yourself as an independent title agent: What standards am I building my business to?
Where am I getting those standards and what is the motivation of the source that is giving me that information? How reliable are they? Is it appropriate?
As the Independent Underwriter for The Independent Agent, we at Alliant National think for ourselves.
What should those standards be considering that our agents success is our success, that we don’t compete with them by having direct operations and our entire business model is organized around helping our independent agents thrive?
As you may have summized, our standards are higher.
Alliant National is the independent underwriter for THE FINEST Independent agents in the industry, and we have evidence to prove it.
From 2013 through 2017 the title insurance industry had an average loss ratio of 7.7 percent. Alliant National’s loss ratio for that same period was 3.4 percent. That’s performance!
How do we do it?
We offer quality assurance certifications to help our agents meet the needs of regulators and bolster their credibility with REALTORS and lenders. And we have our own processes verified and certified to be the finest in the industry.
AUTHORIZED SERVICE PROVIDER
The Authorized Service Provider designation is determined by an audit using the stringent SSAE 18 Type 2 (SOC 1) examination process. We send a formal letter and seal to each agent for every year they carry the Authorized Service Provider distinction, which can be shared with third-party vendors.
CERTIFIED SERVICE PROVIDER
The Certified Service Provider designation also comes with a formal letter and seal, which can be shared with third-party vendors. To achieve this elevated distinction, an agent must submit additional documentation for review while satisfying Authorized Service Provider and ALTA Best Practices standards.
SSAE18 TYPE II CERTIFIED
Alliant National was the first title insurance underwriter in the nation to obtain an SSAE18 Type II compliant status and is the only title insurance underwriter to achieve compliant status for four consecutive years.
ISO 27001 CERTIFIED
We’re also the only title insurance underwriter in the industry to receive an ISO 27001 certification, validating that we adhere to the most rigorous International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requirements – just another example of how Alliant National assures quality and helps manage risk for our agents.
So choose your standards carefully. Know the motivations of your underwriters and why some set standards high and why others set standards low so you’re more at risk.
Our standards are built to last, built for the big one, and built to help our agents thrive.
You DON’T need to engage the latest YouTube sensation or Facebook social media star to be a micro-influencer for your business. You DO need to determine your strategy, identify the appropriate influencers to help you leverage that strategy and then build a relationship with that micro-influencer group.
- When one thinks of social media influencers, who comes to mind? Is it a group of the most highly-followed social media stars with millions of followers or is it someone more approachable and relatable, with a smaller, yet immensely dedicated following? If it’s the latter, they are likely micro-influencers.
- An emerging trend has entered the ecommerce marketing arena since such social media channels as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube became increasingly popular. Micro-influencers, have successfully settled in the world traditionally ruled by the Kardashians and eventually gained more value for marketers.
How do you position your brand to be talkworthy?
Let’s be honest. You’d love your brand to be the talk of the town. You want clients sharing their great experiences with your business. You want them to share on social media, at the coffee shop, in line at the grocery store, while talking with co-workers, at the hair salon, etc. But, how do you position your brand to be talkworthy?
- One important function of publicity is positioning your brand. How you position your company influences how consumers perceive you and feel about you, which in turn affects whether or not they trust you and want to buy from you.
- In a recent analysis of more than 500 consumer brands in a variety of categories, the firm ranked those with the most talkworthy marketing campaigns. The rankings are based on the extent to which people are sharing or talking about a brand’s marketing or advertising both online (via social media) and offline (via face-to-face conversations), as part of its TotalSocial Brand Awards series.