Minnesota attorney Aaron Hall speaks with Richard Gall of Blue Lake Development about outsourcing business development and increasing sales.
Blue Lake Development – Richard Gall:
Growing Sales The Easy Way Out – Outsourcing Business Development
Interviewer: Aaron Hall (AH), Minneapolis Attorney
Interviewee: Richard Gall (RG), Blue Lake Development
[Start of Transcription]
AH: Rich your clients are typically selling business to business professional services. What type of common problems do they have that lead them to you?
RG: Yes, correct. My clients are typically doing business to business sales and they are finding themselves to have enough sales to keep them busy but are too busy to do some business development. So they come to me saying, “Rich, we want more sales but we don’t want to have the added expense to bring out a full time sales person with payroll benefits workers have”, that sort of thing.
AH: So any examples of professionals with whom you work would be what areas?
RG: Well you know one company that does economic development consulting.
RG: and he wants to find companies that are looking to expand or relocate under role markets. Wages are cheaper there, taxes are lower typically they all, say, settle for grants, ____ loans, real estate abatements. So he is looking for companies looking to expand or relocate.
AH: Wow. What about insurance sales people [01:00], real ___ters, CPAs, any others?
RG: Talked to a number of CPAs but they are a bit more hesitant to come onboard, working with one insurance agent right now…. yes.
AH: Ok. So any other industries or professions?
RG: Mobile application development, want to put enterprise level mobile app on your phone.
RG: for usually high tech businesses.
AH: Ok. So what is the process then when a client comes in and how you analyze their problem and help solve it?
RG: Great question. What we typically do is try to find out what their ideal client is, who their favorite clients to work with, both with ease, profitability, and also size because we want t make sure that they are not in the right size client take them from. We try to develop a story about how they help those clients and what can they do to get in from more clients like that.
AH: Could you elaborate on developing a story. What do you mean by that?
RG: Sure. While working with the economic development guy, we led to a couple of his previous clients that he had successes with. What were the companies that had relocated or expanded outside of twin cities market? We crafted their stories into something [02:00] that would appeal the similar companies that had stayed in vain. So one company went up to Fargo that had significant chunk of investment capital from the city of Fargo. They hired thirty people and lowered their operating costs.
RG: So we told the story in a brochure and then followed it with phone calls, with the opportunity to meet the guy.
AH: Interesting. So on a very practical and logistical perspective, what services do you provide after you do that initial assessment, that consulting, what is the follow up plan for you to implement?
RG: There is no secret sauce, just hard work. Once we’ve built up the story, we have put it in brochure form, mailed enough to the ideal list of clients that they go in front of. Followed by the phone calls, say would you like to meet our client and try to get them an appointment.
BE: Interesting. What tips do you have for potential clients of yours who may be struggling with marketing and doing business development?
RG: Tips that I have…. Couple of good questions that will lead you to; lead them to your services. So if there is something [03:00] specific that you can help them with make sure you are asking those questions. If you’re a CPA, it’s easy to say you do tax or audit but if you do some additional consulting that’s kind of management specific or maybe its operational efficiency specific, ask questions in those categories to show your significance.
AH: What types of pain are your potential clients right now, what types of comments or frustrations are they going through that would where you would be a good solution for them?
RG: the most common thing I have is that they don’t want to hire a sales person. Mostly they’ve….. whether it’s the economy where young sales people have not been able to get their foot in the door of new accounts or they just don’t want the hustle. They are coming to me and saying, “we can outsource someone’s service to you but still get our own expertise as the primary foot in the door”, they trust themselves to get the deal without having to rely on training sales person or management.
AH: when you are selling business to business and trying to do business development, you often are trying to get access [04:00] to high level decisions makers, people who are protected behind their staff, people whose time is tight. You have any techniques for breaking through that and connecting to the decision maker who your client really needs to see?
RG: One of the things we found successful is asking the gatekeeper questions that only the owner or the decision maker is going to answer. So we look, we did a couple of questions about this and we wanted just wanted to ask. In addition to getting to beyond the gatekeeper typically those are the questions that our clients want to know because they will lead to, for example, the economic development guy. If we are calling to hundred companies that have leases, we want to know what those leases are. They will have to make a decision twelve months before the lease is up, are they going to renew or are they going to look elsewhere. This is tactical information that our clients want to know it helps them to say that, “hey, we talked about a year ago, we know your lease is up in twelve months, would you be interested in a solution.”
AH: Are there any particular industries or types of professionals or you feel like there are a lot of opportunities you could help them significantly [05:00], it’s a low hanging fruit if you if you will.
RG: Small professional services firms want to find people typically. We see that they are able to handle the increase of workload without having to go to the, adding a salesperson.
[End of transcription]