Successful business development: is it aquired skill or born with it

Successful sales person: Born or trained

Successful Business Development: is it aquired skill or born with it

Generally when we think of a salesperson our mind brings up images of being locked in an office at the Mazda/Hyundai/Lada dealership or held captive at a timeshare presentation. But all sales jobs are not like this. It is true that it takes a certain type personality to succeed in sales. A career in sales can offer the opportunity to earn an above average income and unlimited potential for growth. I call these professional sales executives; these are the business people that move the world forward.  For the longest time I wanted to change the title of “sales person” to something more expressive of the actual behaviour or tasks, example: Business Development or Business consultant, in another word, I truly believe that sales title applies only to those whom are selling Automobile, Life Insurance or aluminum siding or similar products. I do find the Title: “Sales Person” has become synonymous with the lowest acts of selling, and does not apply to the highly professional business executives. For the sake of this blog, a Sales Person is a Business Development Person
Everyone is selling someone something all the time. You can have the greatest product in the world but nothing happens until someone sells it. As people we are always selling ourselves to others and that’s the most important part of selling. I think one of the main things needed to succeed in sales is a love of people. A sales person is always out there, always meeting people, and always networking. So, just what does it take to succeed in sales?
A Business Development person must have a positive attitude.  Business Development, probably more than any other occupation involves rejection. With most products you have to ask a certain number of people to buy before the sale actually made.  You have to be able to ignore or deal positively with rejection. You most likely will ask about 10 people, in other words get 10 no’s, before someone agreed to set an appointment with you. You must have a positive attitude to digest that much rejection day in and day out.

A business development person must have a strategic plan. There are some jobs you can do that do not require a lot of planning. But when you are asking someone to sign a large deal which could involve millions of dollars you need to have a formula. You need strategy to penetrate the complex layers of business management, you need to develop allies, you need to have the users on your side etc… Some companies provide leads or territories for sales people but typically most business development people are responsible for locating their own prospects.

A business development person must be committed to their success. It has long been argued if a salesperson is made or born. My opinion is that you are born with a certain personality type and certain types do better in sales. Typically the more outgoing person ends up in business development but it really depends upon the product or services or deal you are brokering. For the introvert can be very difficult to be more outgoing and can succeed in deal making but they will always feel that they are out of their normal behaviour which can be uncomfortable in the long run. To be successful in business development a person must be willing to A) learn everything about the organization that they are dealing with; B) negotiation techniques and C) how to manage multiple types of personalities. This can take time. It takes 10 years to become a doctor, 5 years to become a lawyer, and 1000 hours to become a barber. Many times those in business development give up after just a few weeks or months, before they have had time to learn what is needed to be successful.

A business development person must be willing to continue learning and growing. Business development people are typically expected to be knowledgeable about their products and their company. They have to stay on top of what is happening in the industry, and various economic and political influencing factors as products change and situations change. Because they have so much contact with people they need to be aware of what is happening around them.  It has been said: The super-wise man learns from the experience of others. Top business people attend meetings, read books, and associate with business professionals.

A business development person must know how to set goals. Some jobs just happen whether you do anything or not. But business deals do not just happen. You have to make them happen. It is critical that a business development person know how many deals they need to make to meet their quota, how much money they need to propel their company forward, and what they need to do to make this happen. The best way to do this is to set daily, weekly or monthly goals, which should fit in the long term strategy

A business development person must be enthusiastic about their product. It is difficult to broker a deal on something you do not believe in. When you really believe in something, the other person can see and feel your passion. If you don’t like the product or the company, the deal will be more difficult. It has been said that nothing great was every achieved without enthusiasm.

A business development person you must work relentlessly hard and smart. A deal maker’s job is not easy. Much hard work is required if one is to be successful. But working hard is not enough. One must also work smart by managing their time and resources well, being disciplined, and following the example of others who have been successful.  I personally follow the principle of “and then some.” I don’t just give it my best; I give it my best and then some. At the end of the day when I’m ready to go home I would make one or two more business calls. Often these calls would be the one that produced results. By giving just a little more time and effort you could propel yourself from an average salesperson to a super star business development person.

For the most part, success in business development (like in any other type of job) is determined by the individual, by their attitude. Anyone can succeed, if he or she wants it badly enough
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