Get the Ball: Business Development Tips from Dogs

*re-share from my blog at www.privateschoolpups.com/blog*

Our dogs bring us unconditional love and excitement and can even teach us a few life lessons! We can learn a lot from our furry friends, from the way they communicate to their unwavering loyalty. If you’re looking for some tips to guide your business decisions, look no further than your loving pup.

What would your first few reactions be if a dog were to walk up to you and try to sell you on something? Shock? Sure. Bewilderment? Most likely. Trust? After the shock and bewilderment wore off, I think yes. We all know and love dogs. In fact, it’s rare to find a person who doesn’t. We even don’t trust people who don’t like dogs. It’s just weird to not like dogs.

What can we as marketers and sales people learn from dogs when it comes to earning the trust and loyalty of our existing and potential customers?

Cuteness/Friendliness – Now, we will never be as cute as a puppy. No way, no how. What we can be is approachable. A simple smile can achieve this. Don’t use talking over the phone as an excuse, either. Studies show we can tell when someone is smiling even over the phone. Also, look as presentable as you can whenever possible. After all, no one wants to pet the smelly or attack dog.

Stay in Contact – You never worry if your dog knows where you are; chances are they are right behind you. A dog is always checking in and always within eyesight. Keep up with your contacts – this is what business development is all about. Know little things about them: what their kids’ names are, what their partner does for work, what vacation plans they have. But not in an annoying way; we want to be like dogs, not kids.

Intuitive – Dogs know how you are feeling. They are ready to give just what you need when you need it. Feeling down? Dogs are right by your side ready for that hug. Same should be true for good sales people – they should know their client’s needs and be able to innately react to help the customer meet those needs.

Loyal – Arguably the best trait of a dog. This is why he is man’s best friend. He will be by your side no matter what you are going through. If your clients know that you have their back, they will trust you. Everyone wants to work with a partner they trust rather than just another sales person who is in it for their own benefit.

Tenacious – Have you ever watched a dog going after the peanut butter in a Kong toy? She isn’t stopping until she gets allthe peanut butter. Don’t keep bugging someone who has said no repeatedly – that is the wrong place to put your efforts. Do keep trying to improve yourself, your pitch, and your connections. Don’t let things that seem difficult get in your way of reaching goals.

Always Learning – One of the reasons a dog is always following you around is she is learning. They are constantly learning from your cues and adjusting their behavior. Use that intuition to figure out what a client is feeling when you give them less than ideal news and use that information to change how you approach them in the future. The saying about teaching an old dog new tricks? Very true. You are never too old or too experienced to learn something new, so always keep your mind open.

Honest – A dog who has been accused of doing something bad is the picture of guilt – they cannot tell a lie. Being honest, even when you have bad news, will make your customers view you as someone who is transparent. That transparency will make them trust you. We want to do business with people we trust.

Live in the Moment – When a dog is playing with you, they aren’t thinking about a to-do list or what they will say in a future phone call. They are only focused on you, at least, until a squirrel comes along. When you are talking to a client, give them the courtesy of your full attention. People can tell if you aren’t focused and they will feel unimportant. Minimize the number of squirrels (emails) popping into your office.

Sales people have long had the image of a greasy-haired, pushy cars salespeople. Redefine yourself by channeling your inner dog when you are interacting with a customer. Over time, you might find they become more willing to listen to what you have to say, although, they might start petting you too.

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