Our latest MEG meet-up involved a roundtable discussion about business development, and the do’s and don’ts of doing your own thing, and making it work.
Stephen Neil led the discussion, with five points, each of which were then discussed.
1. Help Rather Than Sell
Help before you sell. Offering advice and support to others, rather than just trying to sell to them, helps create a sense of trust. Sometimes helping people by referring them to others brings better long-term rewards. It is a more intuitive approach.
You cannot get away with shark-like, predatory behaviour. Business development is about much more than chasing leads. The role of the sales person has changed since the massive growth in importance of the internet. Be a facilitator first, and help solve people’s problems.
2. Know Your Worth
Don’t take it personally if people don’t want your services. You need to build their confidence in you, and your abilities first. There will be knock-backs, but you need to develop resilience and the inner strength to persevere in your chosen path.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Different
Develop your personal brand and make yourself memorable. In face-to-face environment establishing your brand value is important. Think about how you engage with others, and what you can say that generates interest.
4. Have the Humility to Listen to Feedback
It’s a balancing act. You need confidence, but you should also be prepared to listen to others and to distil insight about yourself from what they say. Where there is constructive criticism, focus on the constructive part.
5. You Don’t Make Money in the Office
Put yourself in front of people as much as possible. Successful business is about building relationships. Learn to leverage your personal brand, and be sociable with others.
Putting Value Into Business
Business development isn’t confined to spreadsheets and projections. Ultimately, in B2B situations, you cannot separate people from their businesses. The two go together.
In connection with this, as Warren Williams emphasised, the more you can add value to people with what you do, and who you are, the more successful you are likely to be.
As Calvin Husbands observed, it’s how you come across. To add value, you must sell yourself, rather than the product.
There are also ways of making your content add value for others, by demonstrating your depth of knowledge and how you think, for example, by using video demonstrations. This was something photographer Christopher Ball talked about.
Communication is key, because how you come across will be how you can add value, attract interest, and ultimately win new business.
Participation Without Pressure