Contact Us

Fast Tip Friday: What Matters Most in Business Development?

May 19, 2023 6:45:00 AM


Look, I've been in this business for 35 years, on the coaching and training side. I've spent the better part of 15 years prior to that, when I was about 14 or 15, “selling” my lawn care, cutting neighbor's lawns,  and doing work for my mom's real estate office.

I used to hustle bags down at West Chester University when students were moving in and old men couldn't carry their kids' luggage up to the seventh floor of Goshen Hall. Don't worry about the details. It's all true, but I've always been in business development. I've always been in the business of asking people to make a decision to do business with me.

What I learned along the way was what I believed about business development and what really mattered about business development weren't necessarily in sync. So my topic today is that, in a lot of cases, if you're a professional in the business development arena, don't perpetuate your own misery. Frankly, the behaviors, practices and beliefs that a lot of people in business development apply day to day, don't do a whole lot more than perpetuate the misery that makes this one of the toughest jobs anyone could ever have. 

So, some of the things that I think we all have to be aware of is that getting people excited isn't necessarily going to turn them into best customers. Talking about money is critical and thinking if you tell them all kinds of great things, they won't think about money is foolish.

If you don't know how to schedule and manage your process, the schedule and management of your life is going to be done by someone else that doesn't have your best interests at heart. If you do the things that people don't like about salespeople, you're going to make life miserable when you don't want it to be miserable. The number one complaint business-to-business people have about working with “salespeople” is they don't bring value and they waste my time.

If you can't structure a process that creates a high value conversation, with a commitment to a decision, and a timeframe that both people can be working on, you're probably doing a lot of the things that exist, because your best sales strategy is hoping that you get the deal.

I'm saying to you a pretty simple concept. Stop doing the things that you've been told are business development appropriate and start doing the things that are business conversation applicable and effective. I interviewed somebody recently who said A-B-C was key to success in business development, “Always be closing”, and if there's one thing that drives a lot of people nuts, it's that a business development person comes in and thinks their job is to get a decision from you right after you say hello. It's their job to get you excited about that, and if they get you excited enough, you'll forget about the money and just sign the purchase order.

So look, find out what really matters in business development. Become customer-focused, not salesperson-focused, become buyer-centric, not seller centric in your approach to success. And change your attitude about what it means to be a business development professional, not a sales amateur.

So it's a fine line, but on one side is success, consistency, a career, and on the other side is frustration, aggravation, a job, and maybe not the life you thought you were going to have when you stepped into that role. So, get your head adjusted, stop being a salesperson, be a business development professional, and watch the difference happen right before your eyes.

Thanks for listening and watching. Take care. Have a great weekend and have a great week next week.