By Richard Higby, PhD
Every participant in an MBDi workshop is familiar with the trivia question, “Is zero a prime number?” After a polite pause and an expectant hesitation, the answer from the attendees is typically mixed and equally divided between ‘yes’ and ‘no.’
Definition: A prime number is a natural number greater than one that is not a product of two smaller natural numbers (Wikipedia).
How do prime numbers relate to professional business development? Let’s look at the first four prime in reverse order. There are “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (Stephen Covey, 1989) which is one of our highly recommended and timeless reads for personal development. Covey teaches a personal philosophy that makes winning a habit. A winning habit in Business Development is achieved by practicing the The 7 Steps of the Mastering Business Development System.
- Purpose, Goal and Rules, Rights & Responsibilities
- Getting Permission to Interview
- Interviewing for Pain
- Financial Qualification
- Decision Qualification
Practicing each of these steps for 700 hours will lead to a mastery of the art of business development.
Our personal mission is the product of five key formation steps of who we are and how we will be known in the business world. The principles, values, and ethics you adopt in your everyday life will inform your thinking in business development. How you perceive your business development role and how your customers perceive you will dictate your behavior not only in business development but in all of your interactions. Your practiced behavior becomes your habits and it is your habits in life that form your legacy. This concept is tried and true and can be found in this quote from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin “Virtue was not secure until its practice became a habitude and was free from the opposition of contrary inclinations.”
What will your legacy be?
The power of three cannot be understated. Traffic lights have three colors (used in the business development lifecycle gating in many organizations), memorize the first three things you are going to say in the bonding and positioning phase of business development, and pause three seconds before answering any question. Behavioral psychology is one of the cornerstones of Mastering Business Development (can you name the other three?). Using the framework of behavioral psychology, we learn to know ourselves first and then our prospects and the three ego states responsible for observable interaction. It is vital that you know the ego state you are in first, and then let that guide your interaction with your customer.
Finally, there are two things you need to do next. You need to take a proactive approach to business development and you should know positively going forward that zero is not a prime number and is an unacceptable outcome for business development. Draw heavily on the power of two, three, five and seven in Mastering Business Development to reinforce your behavior into the coming year.