Marty Fagan shares his strategy for entering new markets at TransUnion and why the Three Legged Stool approach to business development is the most effective way to build relationships with complete strangers. Find out why business development is sales plus thought leadership, why valuable relationships, both in life and in business, begin with authenticity and passion, and why persistence is one of the most powerful success habits you can cultivate in your career.
Mo asks Marty Fagan: Go back in time and tell me of the moment when you realized growth or business development was something you wanted to dive into.
- In his role at TransUnion, Marty is helping the organization explore new areas of the market that the business has never participated in before, and that’s where business development has been a critical component.
- As an unknown entity, it requires an entirely different mindset in how you approach new business.
- If your brand isn’t really well known yet, that can actually be an advantage, as it gives you the opportunity to decide and shape the brand that people will perceive.
- To break into a market, you need to have the mindset of a marketer and sales executive. You have to bring together the tactical and the strategic to win.
- When meeting someone for the first time, Marty tries to glean as much information about them as possible ahead of time using resources like LinkedIn to find people with connections to the person he’s going to talk to.
- Next, he looks at the company’s strategic objectives, vision, and priorities, then moves up to researching the industry as a whole.
- All this research allows Marty to create really customized questions that are highly relevant to the potential client, all within the context of solving a need for the customer.
Mo asks Marty Fagan: What is your personal definition of business development?
- Business development is sales but in a different way. You have to think strategically from a thought leadership perspective instead of tactically.
- Sales and marketing should be integrated, and that’s what happens within the context of business development.
- This is the approach TransUnion uses to enter new markets. They combine the sales, solutions, and marketing into one coordinated effort.
- Marty uses the analogy of the three legged stool. Without the legs of a sales process, a solution to offer the market, and the marketing/outreach of having conversations with people that need your solution, the stool falls over and nothing happens.
- If one of those elements aren’t in place for you, seek out as many subject matter experts on that area as you can to help you develop it. If you don’t have it internally, find it externally.
- When looking at a new market, Marty starts by looking at the solutions his organization already has and how they can apply to that industry to make a customer more effective. It’s an outside-in approach that is very powerful.
Mo asks Marty Fagan: When you think of GrowBig Training or the Snowball System, what's your favorite science, step, or story?
- The Give to Get is the easy answer for Marty.
- By utilizing the Give to Get, Marty’s team establishes a much stronger relationship with their customer and gets them bought in, drastically increasing the odds of landing the business.
- You’re becoming a partner with your customer through the process by investing in them, and in return they often begin investing in you.
- A Give to Get is essentially offering something of value to a prospect that you think they need before you are hired. This can take the form of thought leadership, connections, and more.
- It has three criteria: it adds value for them, it’s relatively worth it, and it’s easy for you to do. The key to a successful Give to Get is that it leads to a next step and the prospect realizing that they can benefit from your expertise.
- Get to a place where you agree on what success looks like, that mutual agreement is what leads to the next step and eventually the close.
- With a Give to Get, you're both agreeing to something, and you're working on this in collaboration with each other. You're both investing time and effort into it and that's what ties it all together. Without both sides escalating the commitment level over time, there won’t be a future together.
- Compared to a blind RFP, the Give to Get approach is almost ten times more effective at landing business.
Mo asks Marty Fagan: I want you to tell me of a business development story that you're particularly proud of.
- Marty tells the story of an opportunity he had been pursuing for three years where his persistence really paid off.
- Despite the lack of traction for multiple years, Marty kept persisting and keeping the lines of communication open because he knew that the area the client needed help in was something they could provide and the importance level was very high for them.
- Having the grit to work through the tough times and the seeming lack of progress has resulted in a great business relationship that Marty is really proud of.
- A lot of business professionals struggle with the front end persistence, where they get little to no response from someone they are trying to build a relationship with. Seeing that as a challenge, instead of an insurmountable obstacle, helps. Marty never lost the belief that he could actually add value to the client, and that gave him the confidence to keep going.
- Early stage relationships are less like a tennis match, where you need the other person to respond in order to continue playing, and more like practicing your serve. Keep giving.
- Persistence shows you are serious about adding value, and that takes time.
Mo asks Marty Fagan: If you could record a video about growth or Business Development, and send it back to your younger self, what would you say?
- First thing is to be authentic. If you truly are authentic, people can pick up on that. And if you're not authentic, they can pick up on that as well.
- If you’re talking to someone and you don’t think your solution is a good fit, don’t sell it to them.
- Closing the sale no matter what may work in the short-term, but it’s a terrible strategy in the long-term.
- The second thing is to have a passion for the solution you are offering to your customers. People pick up on your passion, which contributes to that feeling of authenticity.
- Having passion and authenticity establishes trust, and that trust needs to be in place to have a conversation result in a closed deal.
- If you’ve developed a deep expertise, it’s okay to be excited about it and convey that energy to people.
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