There is no mystery why some people are effective in business development and able to secure clients, customers, sponsors and donors and others are not. The answer is in what they do.
A study on why Brazilian footballers and Russian female tennis players are so successful, identified that it was their constant repetition of key skills at an early age which was their key to success as adult players – they did the right things repeatedly. Success in business development works on the same principal.
To secure clients, customers, sponsors and funding, you need to ensure that you repeat the critical success factors of effective business development. It is these key (and unfortunately often mundane) actions and activities that should be the focus of your business development plan.
Your key activity
I am amazed by the number of people that don’t have a plan. If you haven’t done so already, your key activity must be to get your team together and run through the following process:
- Review your recent business development activity. Look at what worked, what didn’t, and identify the key learning to take forward.
- Ensure everyone on the team is clear on the individual, team and organisational goals.
- Ensure a robust plan is in place for achieving those goals.
The plan should contain crucial business development activity such as:
- Attending events that bring you face to face with your prospects
- Speaking at events where your audience experiences you
- Running events where your prospects can experience the outcomes you can deliver
- Writing articles that will be read by prospects
- Sending free information of value to prospects
- Reading articles that give you clues to new prospects
- Calling prospects
- Calling your existing clients and sponsors to get their reaction to what you have delivered so far, to identify changes in their business since you last spoke and to ensure your clarity on their key challenges moving forward
- Regular review dates to look at what’s working, what’s not and what you need to do differently.
All of the above are mundane and typical business development activities where the more times you undertake them, other things being equal, the more clients, customers, sponsors and funding you will attain.
Schedule the activity
Success is not a mystery. As the saying goes in boxing; “champions are made in the gym not the ring”, the same is true of business developers. You have to plan to do the hard work and then do the hard work! Schedule your activities month by month and then take action.