How Frustrating Is Business Development?

How Frustrating Is Business Development?

a businessman standing ona yellow path facing into a light bulb shaped light.If you reflected on this question for more than a few seconds, perhaps you need to recharge, reorient, or reposition your approaches to garnering new business.  Sure, not all business development (BD) is equal in terms of fulfillment.  Get over it.  BD is not supposed to be easy.  It only “appears” effortless to those who eschew it or demean its importance to a company, vis a vis their “internal” value to the firm.

Very focused BD is never ending.  It is the positive, yet relentless, afforcing to build lasting relationships that result in revenues to your firm.  So why would those efforts even be viewed as boring?  Tiring, yes.  Daunting, sure.  But maybe the frustration of losing some prospects to the “competition” wears on you, at least some of the time.

Which brings us to a critical issue:  All of your competitors have flaws.  How demonstrative should/can you be in openly identifying these deficiencies?  Some prospects will actually open the door for you to walk through and tell “your truth.”  Usually, given that platform, your best retort is to ask them how they assess the competition.  Assuming they are open to that dialogue, you may want to reinforce their opinions.  Or you may choose to acknowledge the positives and just let the negatives “float” in the air.  The best approach is to clearly hear the prospect’s comments but remain almost neutral.

And now, a real-life story.  One of our most well-known “competitors” grew from a local operation into a semi-national firm.  They had that “gravitas” to some professionals and were able to get premium pricing for valuations.  This firm did a good job of expanding their brand, but it was a false frost.  Having read many of their reports, some of which were solid and some of which were awful, I knew differently.  In my heart of hearts, I knew their valuators were not substantive in experience or expertise.  I even told a few of my closest professional friends and referral sources that this firm was a shell, with some good front people (BD), and “all hat, no cattle.”  To my ultimate vindication, the firm got over extended with too many offices and personnel, and folded.

The moral of the story:  stick to your strengths.  Don’t badmouth the competition, but don’t let others overrate them either.  In the end, build a solid, endearing BD plan and produce the best quality product.  You may not always hook the bigger fish, but perseverance, like the tortoise, carries the day.


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