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Top Tips for Business Development

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 7 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
Business Development Business

Business development is at the heart of sales.

Your skills as a business developer will go a long way to establishing you as a great sales person as building new business opportunities is how you build your client base.

Many companies are finding that employing business development managers, either as well as or instead of sales people helps to expand their commercial potential. Essentially, business development is sales, but somehow it seems a little less blatant and a little more customer focused as a job title, so it is understandable that many companies are rebranding their sales team as a business development team instead.

Improve Your Business Development Skills

In order to be good at business development you need to be tenacious and focused. It’s all about seeing an opportunity and making the most of it.

If you commit to improving your business development skills, so too will you be improving your sales skills.

There are many levels to business development, starting with establishing your target market. You then need to contact them and build a good relationship, in order to be considered for sales and projects.

Many companies offer training in business development so that their business development services are more results based, as it can be too easy to spend time and money on building relationships only for another company to make the sale.

Business Development Organisation

A super sales person knows that organisation is king when it comes to business development. The very nature of it means that you need to be in regular, but not suffocating contact with your clients and potential clients, with plenty of useful information when you do see or speak to them. For this to happen, you need to make lots of notes – you may find using a contacts or CRM programme on your computer works, or even just a simple rolladex business card holder with notes on the back of each card.

Whatever system you use, just make sure that every detail your customer tells you – whether is business or personal – gets noted down. If they say they are off to the south of France for a water sports holiday, or their favourite food is Japanese, or if their boss really doesn’t like modern art, make a note. It may be perfectly useless, but it may also be the gem that you remember just at the right time and it makes all the difference.

Business Development Ideas

When you are the person in charge of business development, or even just in the team, you are expected to have good ideas.

It just doesn’t cut it to make cold calls on a Monday, week in, week out. You need to be a little more innovative, show some character. You still need to be doing the expected new business tasks, but try to mix it up. Think of a suitable day out that will enable you to impress a number of clients together, or think about a mail shot that highlights a recent success.

By thinking of exciting new business ideas, you are more likely to build your sales, too.

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