Hands up if you think that business development people don’t possess the best reputation in the world. If you’ve just put your arm in the air, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
The truth is, however, that although the sales individual is often still thought of as the stereotypical brush seller with their foot firmly wedged in the door, times are changing rapidly.
In our experience, the more innovative businesses and their sales people now rightly deserve to be re-branded as business development professionals. This new breed is emerging as both a problem solver and solution provider. They’re not content to regurgitate messages about features and benefits at the lowest price to anyone they think might be worth targeting.
Instead, they’re moving in an environment where they spend time working out how their market operates and who their commercially critical prospects are. They then focus on how they can add value by gathering extensive customer data, developing, then proposing suitable options.
Consultative selling is the norm in pioneering industries and sectors today. The business developer’s approach focuses less on imposing themselves and their company’s offer on clients; instead, it concentrates on offering a toolkit of solutions that make commercial sense for the customer.
The best business developers, don’t even think about needing to overcome objections. Preparation and consultation, married to the skill of problem solving, and then getting under the skin of what customers are trying to achieve within given financial parameters become their true keys to success.
It’s our view that mastering the skill of business development is one of the most important components of a successful company. It’s also our opinion that it’s one of the techniques most lacking in corporate life today.
This deficit is especially sharply defined for new start-ups and SME’s. A failure to integrate business development as a core commercial, low confidence levels, lack of knowledge and direction, and poor use of sales techniques means that many businesses never achieve their full potential. One of the key characteristics that marks out new start-ups as winners is the ability to make early sales it’s crucial.