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What does business development really mean?

May 22, 2017

By Jeff Wright, courtesy of Hitachi Business Finance

Business Development Means Different Things to Different People
Some may consider developing new products or services to be business development. To those on the sales side, it may be identifying potential clients or referral sources that aren’t familiar with you or your business, and determining a strategy to better align yourself with these people.

In the end, it’s all about building your brand and creating value for your customer or referral source. A business development officer must build partnerships with sources to develop relationships of trust, integrity, and respect where both sides continue to receive value. It can’t be one-sided. People tend to remember and repay with an opportunity for new business when one presents itself. Each must understand the others’ product or service so that they can be a valued resource when the opportunity arises.

New Avenues for Development
Business development also means figuring out where the new clients or referral partners are and finding a way to reach them. Actively participating in trade associations and reading trade magazines can connect you to the players in the industry who are in tune with what is happening in the market. It’s more important than ever to use social media tools to reach a larger audience. If you are not at events, calling directly, or electronically connecting to your prospects or referral sources, you are missing out on opportunities for new business. You want to be front-of-mind and the first person they think of when a new opportunity arises.

Persistence Pays Off
You must be persistent in your approach and consistent in your message. The work requires a highly-driven, psychologically strong individual capable of handling a lot of turn downs. It’s not a 40-hour job. It requires timely response to requests. Whether favorable or unfavorable, you can get respect when delivering a timely response. If you are delivering bad news, provide some alternatives to get their need satisfied. It’s a good opportunity to use your contacts to refer them a potential client. It could come back to you in the future. Be sure to follow the prospect or referral source at some time in the future. Situations change, which could result in a potential client if you take the time and show some interest in meeting their needs. Waiting for the phone to ring will not get the job done. Those that use all the resources available to them will be the winners in the end.

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