Can an Introvert Succeed at BD?

May 24, 2019

If you’ve heard me speak or have read my previous articles, you know that I’m a strong proponent of building a firmwide culture of business development (BD) by having everyone contribute in ways that are consistent with their career juncture, functional role, and BD acumen. It’s been my experience over my 27 years in the A/E/C and environmental consulting industries that growing your BD skills means growing your career—and your firm.

Yet one of the most common questions that comes up is: “That sounds good, but what if you’re an introvert?”

The reality is that many A/E/C professionals, especially engineers and environmental scientists, are introverts by nature. At a recent class I taught for the Massachusetts chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), 66 percent of the room identified themselves as such. While this group was there to learn BD skills, many introverted professionals feel reluctant or uncomfortable about taking on this role.

Firm leaders can be just as reluctant to put introverts into this role, focusing their efforts on more extroverted staff. In a USA Today poll, 65 percent of executives across all industries viewed introversion as a barrier to moving up the ladder.

That’s a view that can limit their firm’s growth, limit the professional growth of their employees, and quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Introverts (and those who manage them), take heart. You really can learn to be more comfortable with—and even enjoy—BD activities. And you can become proficient without the pressure to be someone you’re not. Here’s how.

Download the full article to read more.

 

This article, written by Rich Friedman, first appeared in the October 2018 issue of Marketer.