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By Jake Dearstyne, CRO – published on on 1/10/20.

With 2019 in our rearview mirrors, we’re all hopefully welcoming 2020 in with a bang. If you’re anything like me, each New Year brings with it two deeply rooted feelings, time after time:

• A desire to change something substantial in my daily routine for the better.

• A mentality that I will work every day to make this my very best year yet, both personally and professionally.

Many of us have a tendency to make a resolution or two, most of which inevitably fall by the wayside by February. That vow to “eat clean” can be pretty tough to stick to when the cold just won’t let up, and all you want is a big bowl of pasta and some wine on the couch. So, let’s not call these resolutions. There’s too much of a negative connotation with that word for many of us. Let’s call these to-dos. And for us as business development and sales professionals, knocking out a few easy to-dos early in the year can set us up for a monster 2020 and beyond. A couple of these are pretty basic, but sometimes we just have to get back to what we know works.

1. Talk more (not through text, and not through email; actually talk).

I may be a bit old-school in this mindset, but I firmly believe personal relationships are everything in business development. We should all know by now that a buyer isn’t just evaluating your service or product, but also you, the salesperson. An email thread is about the least personal way I can think of to get to know someone. If you’ve slipped into an email rut in communicating with your clients, make it your mission to have five completely unplanned phone conversations per week. Pick up more often when people call you rather than letting voicemail take over, or just dial that longtime customer you haven’t spoken with in a year. You’ll be amazed how often these talks can also lead to referrals or other new opportunities when you take the time to engage openly for a few minutes.

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