Running an agency, a corporation or a startup certainly has its challenges and signing on new business is usually somewhere at the top of the list. While this process and task can be daunting, it can be made less stressful if approached strategically. Here are a few steps to help you navigate the business development journey:

Be a Solution first, then a Salesman

Every prospect you approach has a challenge and your sole objective should be to solve that problem. Otherwise, why do they need you? In your initial interactions, be clear and thorough while establishing why your prospect needs you and your product/service and what the return on their investment would look like as a result of engaging you. This is typically easier to do if you have a solid understanding of the business and industry like Google understands the world. Now you have their attention to introduce your solution and make a case for your company.

Define your target

In order to match your solutions to prospects challenges, you first need to be able to identify how your product/service is valuable, what problems you can solve and therefore who has those problems. Identifying your target audience is a basic textbook tip for selling anything. Without a clearly defined target you will be at risk of chasing low quality or unqualified leads which will result in a waste of time and resources, irretrievable opportunity costs and a deflated spirit. So sit and sieve through that prospect list, and go hard only where it will count.

Position right

All things being equal, your portfolio should do the talking before you show up. It should be compelling enough to get 80% of your foot in the proverbial door. Your pitch can therefore focus on being direct, result-driven and strategic. If you produce tangibles, the way you present your product determines the value people put on it and whether or not you’ll attract buyers. Work on your aesthetics and optics. Appeal to all senses of your target and satisfy the need your industry provides for. Run advertisements (If your brand is allowed under the law) to create the top of the mind awareness that will put you as the the first to come to mind when there is need for a product or service in your industry.

Anything could happen – Prepare

Work on your emotions so you can easily play. When you go to sell, be ready for disappointment so don’t be desperate. Taking charge of your emotions not only presents you as the stronger candidate, you get the power to take charge of the discourse, predicting all possible outcomes and working them out. Clients love confident sellers, it builds their trust expectations of you.

Sell with this thought; they either buy my product, or the idea of having my product in the very near future. Show them their need and present yourself and your brand as the most suitable solution to their need. Ask questions and get them talking more than you do. Listen more and be sure to satisfy their objections before you leave the meeting. That’s how you sell right.

Negotiate fairly

You know the true cost of your service or product as a brand, therefore presenting your brand accordingly is important. When it comes to talking money, everyone wants to keep their cards close to their chest. The safest way to play this game of poker then is to make sure that your charges are not super-inflated with the hope of giving reductions in the negotiation process or your charges are not super discounted for the sake of bagging the client. That way, during negotiations, you can have a percentage range within which you are comfortable offering a discount and beyond which you are unwilling to play ball.

This might seem like dangerous territory but imagine going to the market and seeing a bag quoted at 100 cedis. You tell the bag lady you only have 20 cedis and she agrees. M’am was that bag ever 100 cedis if you were willing to accept 20? Now she looks shady and you can’t trust her pricing credibility. You don’t want your prospects to have the bag lady experience with you.

Deliver and keep the relationship

Be professional, ethical and deliver on all agreed in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Acquisition may seem like the biggest hurdle to cross but some may argue that retention is where the real hardwork is. Nurturing clients, being consistent with quality, up and cross-selling are sometimes more difficult that signing the client on. It is crucial to ensure that you maintain a good retention rate and your clients are satisfied and prepared to recommend you. This is the hallmark of a good salesman.

At the end of the day, the ‘why you’ question should be exhaustively answered then, you can expect a call back.


 Esinam lives for the arts. She relishes the opportunity to present a killer concept on and off social media, and loves everything that demands employing her creative juices to make life better. With her degree in Directing and Scenic Design (Theatre Arts, UG-Legon), she presents the full package!