I’ve witnessed many A/E/C and environmental consulting professionals and firms shroud the topic of business development in a level of mystery and complexity that’s just not serving them well.
In fact, when I conduct training, I ask people to share what comes to mind when I say the words “business development.” Often what I hear is that business development is salesy and reserved for extroverted, outgoing people who like to play golf. In other words, many folks are telling themselves a lot of false stories about business development.
So, in this article, we’re examining what business development is—and is not— and what it really takes to succeed at it. I truly believe that anyone can learn the skills and develop the mindsets needed to be great at business development. Here are a few stories that need to shift to make that happen.
Honest curiosity, not sleazy small talk. Business development is not a cheesy, disingenuous process of passing out business cards or relentless cold calling. Yes, we have all met people like that, but the truth is, the people who are best at bringing in business are those who are comfortable being themselves and genuinely curious about everyone they meet. It’s hard to make meaningful, lasting connections when you’re trying to be someone that you’re not. Instead, relax. Let go of the overly canned elevator speech and consider every conversation your opportunity to learn more about potential clients and their goals and challenges.
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This article, written by Rich Friedman, first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Marketer.