10 Tips for Technical Staff Who Do Business Development


By Margaret Felts

Business Development. Those two words together can strike fear into anyone who is not a self-proclaimed extrovert or a full time business development officer seasoned in their process. But it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. The idea of “business development” can take on many meanings, but at its core, it is a fairly basic concept – engaging ideas and actions that will bring business to your firm. It’s the “how” that can take some practice to be comfortable “doing” business development. Here are a few tips on how to get started or to feel more confident in your methods:

1. Don’t let the idea of “Business Development” scare you. Business development is as easy as having a conversation.

2. Listen more, talk less, and pay attention to what is important to the client. Sometimes it may not be what they’re saying, but what they are trying to say.

3. Be curious, ask great questions. This will help you get at the heart of what your client needs.

4. Attend any training you can on presentation skills, and/or join a group, such as Toastmasters, to gain confidence in speaking. Speaking is a skill, and it takes practice to do it well.

5. Create business development goals for yourself each week. These can be as simple as making two phone calls to prospective clients, or following up with a current client to see how they are doing.

6. Follow through on those goals. Never let relationships get cold.

7. Do great work. Keeping current clients happy is one of the easiest ways to bring in new business. If your client is happy with your work, they will undoubtedly have more business for you in the future.

8. Find a mentor. This should be someone you trust who can show you how business development is done.

9. Be patient. You’re not going to persuade the dream client to give you the big project with one meeting; the goal is to develop trust with the client through continuously developing a relationship with them.

10. Be yourself. You don’t need to be a “salesman” to do great business development. Your genuine nature and enthusiasm for what you do will help foster that trusted client relationship.

Follow Margaret on Twitter @MFelts_WH

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