Most service professionals begin their careers with a focus on being a good practitioner, but then have to grow into a business development role. Why do some people seem to have a ‘sales gene’ while others don’t?
The early years of my career required me to be very analytical, great with financial modelling and a persistent researcher. As the years went on, my role shifted to client management and now I’m focused mostly on business development. As I’ve shared before, this was not an easy transition, especially in the early years, and for a while I doubted it was even possible for me.
In this episode I tackle four things I wish I knew back then. If you are a service professional who doesn’t believe you have the ‘sales gene’ or if you lead people like this, these four points may help with this difficult but important transition.
1. Drop the Pressure of ‘The Sale’
Selling services, ideas or advice, is about trust and it requires time to build. Instead, just focus on the next step, whether that be another meeting or an introduction to another colleague.
2. Focus on Connecting Dots
This could mean matching people to needs, or people to people. Meeting someone new can often be accomplished by a series of introductions, starting with people you already know. Build a reputation of being generous by helping others connect their dots, and they won’t mind helping you connect yours.
3. Just Have Conversations
Business development happens when you can meet someone’s need. The only way to know what these needs are is to ask great questions and listen. If you can work on your question and listening skills, you are well on your way.
4. Mix Skills With Being a Human
Selling, business development and marketing are just skills. They require practice and many of us won’t be great at first. At the same time, skills aren’t a replacement for who you are. No two people have the same golf swing and no two people have the same business development style. Persist in developing your skills, but weave in your individual personality, style and life experience.
The best business development people care about their clients and find ways to deliver value over time. They believe in who they are and are confident in the value they provide. Find a way to develop your skills and believe in who you are and share it with others. Don’t hold back from those who need you just because business development appears uncomfortable at first.
There is no sales gene.
- Article: Listening Builds Trust and Businesses
- Article: Reframe Problems To Turn Prospects Into Paying Customers
- Article: Ask More Questions
- Article: Your Whole Self
- Podcast: Become a Better Salesperson and Sales Leader
- Podcast: Making Connections
- Podcast: Creativity Is Everybody’s Business
- Podcast: Graduation & Career Progression
- Video: Good Life Project – Dan Pink: To Sell Is Human (for real?!)
- Book: To Sell Is Human, Daniel Pink
I Appreciate Your iTunes Reviews!
If you enjoy this podcast, it would mean a lot to me if you would head over to iTunes and give it a rating or a review. These ratings carry a lot of weight and will help make this podcast more visible to more people. Thank you if you’ve already done this!