We’re often asked, “What do professional Business Development people look like”? There are many studies about personalities along with tests and articles on the subject. In spite of all this information, there’s no definitive answer.
The closest we can come to an answer is that BD people frequently look like prospects. If we always knew what prospects looked like, profiling BD professionals and building revenue growth teams would be easy … but it’s not.
Top BD professionals don’t profile like traditional sales people. It is not unusual for these professionals to be accomplished in prior roles before or while simultaneous working in BD. A typical example is a successful engineer, scientist or other technical professional who takes on the Business Development role later in a career. Another example is a Senior Retired Military professional who selects a BD role after retiring. These individuals approach this new position differently, and see it as another challenge in their personal and professional development. What makes them particularly successful is their ability to leverage their knowledge and experience from their previous roles to being successful in their new Business Development activities. They are much like their prospects. They frequently operate from the cover and comfort of their prior positions to successfully engage prospects and customers in this new scenario.
For example, they don’t seek to be the center of attention or take overt credit for success. They engage prospects and allow them to self-identify their issues and self-qualify their need for assistance. These BD professionals don’t tend to dominate relationships; they allow prospects or customers to be the center of attention.
Low key, quiet and introspective, they live the cover of another role. They’re not seen as being in BD. Instead, they’re perceived as friends and colleagues … who are also business professionals. Trust is developed and leveraged from their prior roles and experience. As a consequence, business results.
All good Business Development professionals have learned to live their cover. Does it make sense for you to do so too?