Too many people in the role of Business Development get caught up in the mechanics, the questions, the presentation and the processes. It’s certainly important to know what to do and how to do it. But, it’s equally and frequently more important to know why you’re doing it. Mechanics give you the what, when and how but it’s the conceptual that gives you the motivation, discipline and courage.
Conceptually, Business Development is about how you see yourself and develop the thinking necessary for success. To be successful, you need to see yourself as a professional business person; that is, one who takes responsibility for helping your client and helping your company and who, in the end, leaves things better than you found them. Too many of us focus internally rather than externally. It’s not about you, or the products or services you provide. It’s all about the client. It’s about understanding their problems from their perspective and then assisting them in securing the best solution, whether or not they purchase it from you.
A wise Pennsylvania Dutch Business Development manager once shared with me, “Be careful of running into your own thinking.” This is a challenge for almost everyone in a Business Development role. We simply can’t get our own thinking out of the way so that we can focus on the client. This is most often seen as we make assumptions about what we believe the client is thinking rather than asking a clarifying question. The ability to get control of how you think—the good as well as the obsolete and outdated—is a professional growth process in the role of Business Development. To succeed at the highest level, you must gain a good understanding of both leadership and psychology. First, you need to discipline your own thinking as a leader. Only then will you be prepared to assist your client with figuring out what is best for them from their perspective.
Founded in 1979, MBDi is a global Business Development services firm headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, providing expertise in Business Development best practices in the national security, defense, scientific, energy and engineering industries. MBDi’s mission is to transform our clients’ organizations and people into proven Business Development leaders by addressing the conditions and behaviors that assure positive culture change creating clear paths to professional success.