As almost every ambitious company knows, its growth potential lies in its business development efforts. Although business development seems like an easy concept to understand on the surface, there are subtle nuances and nuances that many people hide from, making it difficult to understand properly. This difficulty, which in many cases can frustrate the most conscientious efforts, can be attributed to five major symptoms of poor business development. Many of these traits can be attributed to selfishness or lack of experience, but not addressing them can have major consequences for any business development professional, and in turn, their company.
Read on as we discuss how these symptoms reflect a misunderstanding of core business development concepts, along with tips on how to overcome them.
1. Lack of Emotional Intelligence
Let’s take a bird’s eye view of business development. An individual is hired to bring their existing business relationships and forge new relationships with potential partners to ultimately bring new business to the company in the form of strategic brand partnerships. The simplest explanation is that your goal is to bring in new business. While this may sound like traditional business development, the concept and the setup itself are definitely wrong.
If your employee takes this task too literally, you are left with a real problem. A professional development professional interacts with people, real people with feelings and emotions. These people are not one-dimensional and can be very sensitive to empty motivations. As such, great biz dev professionals need a high degree of emotional intelligence. You have to be sensitive to the people you interact with. To be great at business development, you not only have to value the person in front of you, but you also have to have a desire to help them.
It may not help you to open your first big account right away, but this is not about business development. Business development is all about building personal relationships and leveraging them to gain business. And you make these connections by valuing the interests of the people you interact with. The most satisfying and successful way to accomplish your goals is by helping your clients accomplish theirs.
2. Not listening carefully to your client
You won’t know what your client’s interests are without listening to them. It’s easy to listen to what someone is saying, but actually listening carefully is something that takes a lot of effort, and can be a difficult task to master. Any professional development effort is made unnecessarily difficult by not listening carefully. We get so caught up in our own interests that we forget to listen to our customers. Many people have a belief that if they speak more, they will be considered intelligent. But in reality, your constant chatter only frustrates customers and makes it seem like you’re over-compensating for low competence.
Most of the time, all you have to do is sit back and listen. For example, if your client expresses a concern about a proposed schedule, address it directly rather than defending, shrugging off, or ignoring it. By doing so, you show your potential business partner that you are attentive to his or her concerns and will likely be attentive enough to address future concerns in a timely manner.
3. Being annoyingly persistent
Being persistent can be a good thing, and the right kind of persistence is key to being a solid business development professional. But there is a fine line between “persistent” and “annoying”. There are many situations in which being persistent can be seen – and rightly so – as annoying or pushy. Repeated emails and calls, especially those made at unnecessarily high frequency and during busy times of the day, will only get you so far. You may get a deal from the concerned party, but that party may remember how pushy and annoying you were, and they may avoid contacting you.
With this in mind, it is incredibly important to give your client the space and time they need to think about and respond to your offer. Doing so treats their time as important as yours, which will be seen as a sign of respect. If your potential partner treats you with respect when trying to make contact, that’s a great indicator of the respect you have for them over the course of the relationship, and these are relationships that biz dev professionals should be fostering.
4. Lack of empathy for the client
Consider your customer’s mindset, including their mood, needs and wants. Clients have their own deadlines and goals, so put yourself in their shoes before reaching out. Never cold call potential clients on Mondays or first thing in the morning. Most people start their day by checking their email, getting ready for the day, and finishing off any items they missed from the previous day. The last thing you want to do is disrupt your customer’s normal routine and try to force them to talk to a stranger, especially in the morning.
Are you in a better mood on Friday? So are most other people. You have a better chance of getting a good response on a cold call with a person in a good mood. Never underestimate the power of good times.
The idea that only a good product or service will make a business successful is based on faulty logic. This over-confidence is based on the argument that you don’t need to do the work required to develop a market. But the truth is that just providing a good product or service is not enough.
You need to highlight the benefits of your products or services in a way that meets your customer’s needs. Only then can you hope to start selling your product or service as an acceptable solution to your customers’ problems. Otherwise the biggest barrier between you and your customers will be your ego.
Great business development professionals come in many different types. We all have unique ways of reaching potential clients, but one thing great business development professionals have in common is that they are selfless people who care about their clients’ well-being. They lay the foundation for strong relationships by helping others. Through these relationships, they create opportunities that are based on trust, respect, and a mutual appreciation for each other’s goals and values.