What do you think it takes to be a successful rainmaker? What qualities do the best business development people all share? Finding and developing a great rainmaker is critical to an organization’s success. So how do you identify this key leader for your organization?
Good business developers have several qualities in common. When selling consulting services, its critical to develop a strong business development mindset. I find that this can be learned and improved over time. I find five qualities in the every successful entrepreneur.
I also know it’s hard to identify these key qualities when you’re hiring your business development team. I know this because so many CEO and Managing Partners feel they hire the wrong individuals for these roles over 50% of the time.
What are these qualities of a great business development mindset? How do we develop these qualities in individuals we work with and how do we develop the business development mindset in our own business development activities?
The first quality of a business development mindset is curiosity. How curious are you when you look for potential opportunities to work with clients? Do you spend time reading specific trade journals or do you look for other ideas that you might be able to bring into your clients? A curious person is always looking for clues that help them better understand the world their clients live in. This includes personal and professional lives. Since the lines have blurred so much over the past several years, its critical to provide your clients an edge in dealing with their lives.
The second quality of a business development mindset is the quality of the person’s questions. Today, we live in a time with so much information we must help our clients and potential clients focus on what’s important in their lives. Since almost anyone can do a great Google search, we need to plan more in advance if we hope to break through the noise. Developing several provocative questions before calling a potential client helps you do that.
The third quality of a business development mindset is these people are always prepared for a great meeting. They prepare and share an agenda in advance. They know their organization’s history working with their potential client and are prepared to discuss problems in an open and honest manner. If it’s a current client, they have been updated on what’s going on with the client’s project. Being prepared allows the client to begin trusting the business development person. It helps build a great foundation for a growing relationship.
The fourth quality of a business development mindset is they are ready to challenge the clients thinking. When I started out selling I was told powerful questions were all you needed to build a strong relationship with clients. Over time, I discovered a lot of sales professionals were taught the same thing. I discovered a great question followed by challenging the answer provided stronger connections to my best clients and partners. I found that I wasn’t always right, but if I was willing to challenge their thinking, they were willing to share more of their opinions with me. I became the first call when clients had unusual problems and challenges which allowed me to be the first in their minds when selecting a partner for a new direction in their organization. I discovered many times, if I was there first, there was no need to search further.
The final quality in a business development mindset is being proactive when things are changing for your clients. I have my business development teams always looking for new things that are happening in their clients’ businesses or industries. When I see an article, I proactively call a client to let them know I’m sending them an article or a book. My proactivity pays huge dividends because it allows me to become a trusted partner to my clients best and brightest. The other benefit I receive is that most major issues impact more than just your client; it’s a great way to start a new relationship. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called new potential clients after having a discussion with a leader at my clients’ organizations. Since I’m a connector, I try to help connect the dots when it comes to dealing with change. My ability to provide my clients with the right individual at the right time provides me a different relationship with these clients.
Check out this video for other traits of a RainMaker: