Sometimes business can seem really easy, other times it can be really hard. For me, one aspect of business that has always come easy is Business Development. I got to thinking the other day, "I wonder why BD has always been easy for me?" Then I realised what it was and it wasn't just one thing but a mixture a few.
I learnt the key principals of Business Development early in my career from coaches and mentors that I trained with.
The key principals of BD have remained the same over the years, its just the way in which we approach BD with current technology, trends and language that changes.
I actually love BD, it excites me and I feel lost if i go to long with doing any BD.
Below is a list I have put together with my top 5 tips for Business Development that you can use to help motivate yourself and improve your results.
Top 5 Tips for Business Development:
As far as I am concerned training is the most important aspect of BD (Business Development). Like just about anything in life, the more you train at something the better you will get. So when it comes to business and employment, the space in which you earn your living, why wouldn't you want to be the best.
My tip is to pick or align yourself with some top mentors, coaches or trainers in your field a learn from them whilst building yourself a system for BD that works for you. When I was starting out in my career, I worked very closely with three coaches mentors that I built my initial BD system around. I wouldn't be here writing this Blog today without having spent hours upon hours perfecting and implementing their teachings.
Going one step further you need to dedicate yourself to continually training and perfecting the teachings of your coach. You don't just go to a seminar or conference and learn something. You must take notes, ask questions, take more notes, then re-read and role play your notes with colleagues. If you don't have colleagues, talk to yourself in the mirror or video camera. Don't laugh, I have done this. It uncomfortable, but works.
I remember as a twenty one year old real estate salesperson being asked to stand on the stage in front of two thousand other real estate agents and overcome objections that my coach would yell at me. It was extremely uncomfortable at first, but then I loved it. Then i realised, if I could overcome objections on a stage in front of two thousand peers, I could do it one on one easy with a customer.
Lastly, you will never stop training. As you begin to see the results of your training, you will become addicted and want to train more. To remain successful, one must continue growth and development. To continue growth and development, one must continue to train.
2. Time Management
Time Management can be as simple or as hard as you want to make it. There are many tools to use such as diaries, note books, to-do lists, phones, Outlook and CRM's. You can use one or more of these tools as long as you are using something that manages your time.
For me, time is my biggest enemy. I have so many things I want to do, but we only have twenty four hours in a day. So I make a to-do list each day in my notebook and prioritise the tasks and i begin to work through them. In conjunction with my to-do list, I use MS Outlook synchronising between my laptop and phone to schedule all of my meetings and appointments for both business and personal. When I am not in a meeting or appointment, I am working through my to-do list. For important to-do's, I schedule a meeting or appointment for them in Outlook.
Now some people might think my system is difficult and that's OK, it is merely an example of what I do. The important thing is that you find something that works for you. The easiest method for people starting from scratch is often to use a diary with two columns ruled in it. One column for appointments or meetings and the other for to-do's.
The next most important aspect of Time Management is to schedule your reoccurring tasks into your calendar or diary creating an "Ideal Week" or "Ideal Month". Reoccurring tasks might include, Sales Meetings, Quoting, Invoicing, Telephone Prospecting, etc. Starting the week or month with these tasks already in your calendar or diary means you know what other free time you have left for meetings and appointments.
When talking about Time Management in the BD space, it is important to think about our customers and prospective customers. We need ample time to meet with them and we need to meet with them at a convenient time. There is a fine line between sticking to your schedule and meeting with a client when they need you. In my experience working across many industries, the approach here can be very different for many reasons, so all I will say is that if you decide to meet with a client when you already have something else scheduled in your diary or calendar like invoicing for example, be sure to reschedule the invoicing for another time so as not to dismiss or forget that task all together.
Networking is often not taken seriously enough in business. A lot of people see networking as a distraction or a nothing more than an excuse for a "junket". But in my experience, I have built a successful BD career using networking as key prospecting method.
Two things can come from networking information and relationships. Funnily enough most opportunities in business come from information and relationships.
Information gained during networking with industry peers is more often than not, current, qualified and straight from the horses mouth because your peers are generally speaking to the same prospective customers as yourself. So providing you are not competing against each other sharing information about current opportunities is of mutual benefit to you both.
Relationships in BD are important because no one other than other people working in BD understand the industry quite like you, so it is always good to have a friend. But more importantly, you never know what the future holds and where people may end up. Good business relationships are often the cornerstone to many business dealings including collaborations, joint ventures, acquisitions, mergers, distributorships and new start ups.
During my career, almost all of my jobs have come from networking and all of my businesses have been built from customers already in my network.
Thinking back to point one "Training", networking can also be a good way to find yourself a coach or mentor.
4. Systems & Procedures
If you don't have systems or procedures, you may as well close the doors to your business until you do. There is no point bringing more customers into chaos and not meeting their expectations, because they won't do business with you again.
For BD to be successful, you must be able to replicate your success over and over and over and over and over and over again. Replicating anything is difficult unless you have the system or procedure written down. Its why we write out recipe's when cooking...
In my career I have re-written my own systems and procedures many times over to relate to the industry in which I was working. Systems and procedures ensure that I remember the right questions to ask and I remember the to complete the correct paperwork, etc.
Systems and procedures don't have to be complicated. They just have to be documented and easy to read or follow. To develop your own systems and procedures all you have to do is carry out all of your task slowly and carefully documenting the steps you take along the way. Once documented, you can critique and audit the steps one system or procedure at a time and usually on a annual or bi-annual basis.
Your own mind can make or break you in BD. A positive attitude can help you achieve the greatest of results whilst a negative attitude can make your entire life a misery and the accomplishment of anything worthwhile seem impossible.
I think almost everyone who has worked in BD has at one point or another experienced times where a negative attitude has hijacked their mind and taken over control of the entire life. When this happens we wonder how we got into this predicament and worse we start to think about how hard it is going to be to get out of it. Generally speaking these periods of negative attitude are caused by just one or two simple occurrences in life that bring us down. It might be family or marital issues, financial issues or issues with co-workers. The negative attitude then causes us to make bad decisions, the results of those bad decisions create more negativity and we enter what I would call a downward spiral. We start to second guess ourselves, our beliefs and our systems and procedures and now everything is out of control. Put your hand up if you have been there. (This is a Blog so I cant see your hand, but I'm guessing you just put it up a little).
The only cure I know for a negative attitude is a positive attitude. It seems to easy doesn't it. But I promise you it works.
Everything in your life should be viewed positively and your attitude will remain the same. Be the "Glass Half Full" person. Do and say positive things and remove anything and anyone from life that or who is too negative.
When you truly understand the power of a positive attitude, you will understand that anything is achievable if you put your mind to it and are prepared to make sacrifices to achieve it. How do you think people become highly successful in their careers as business or sports people. Its not luck or talent. Its a positive attitude.
If you are interested in talking more about business development, contact Brad Kebblewhite.