By Bill Scheessele, MBDi
This is the third article continuing the discussion of business development competencies and how being a business development professional is based on the principles of BE, KNOW, DO.
KNOW is the knowledge needed to be competent. The knowledge needed to be a business development professional is based on the principles of being who we are: our character, our ethics, our principles or values, our mission, our purpose, and understanding our role. In 1597, Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” In reference to developing business, perhaps this is more appropriately stated as “An application of knowledge is needed to master the role of business development and achieve competency levels.” The four types of knowledge competencies acquired and needed when dealing specifically with a business client or prospect are technical, business, financial and people.
Being competent in the role of business development is first and foremost knowing yourself: your limitations, prejudices, strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and who you really are as an individual. Business development professionals are comfortable with themselves and understand their role in the business arena. They know their purpose, as it relates to their larger mission in life. They have established a purpose in all their roles in life, and their role in business development is to help others discover what they need and to help them find a way to achieve it. With this purpose in mind, Business development professionals know how to assess a business opportunity and can be objective in their evaluation. They set aside their prejudices, desires and need to see a situation their way and rather assess the situation, from the client’s perspective. They know and understand who is making the buying decision. The customer may not always be right, but they are the final judge and jury. The prospective customer has a right to deny having a problem or wishing to do anything about it. The role of business development is about putting the interests of the prospect ahead of your own and understanding and accepting that ultimately the customer makes the final decision.
Business development professionals know they are part of a team; they understand that their successes are not theirs alone. They share their successes with those who came before them and prepared them for the role: their mentors, coaches and leaders. They recognize and acknowledge that they have a supportive organization that assures their success. It may often appear that an individual is alone in his or her role of business development, but the professional never got the opportunity with a prospect by himself or herself. The collective efforts of the organization, provide the opportunities and successes that they often get credit for.
Lastly, Business Development Professionals know the process of decision making. They understand that first and foremost they must be a decision maker … deciding what their purpose and mission are in their roles. Fundamentally, business development is the process of facilitating decision-making, helping the prospect or client figure out what issues they may or may not have and whether or not they wish to address them. The Business Development Professional recognizes that the best solution is the one which is in the best interests of all parties.
To KNOW is ultimately to accept humility and realize that there is very little that we truly know by ourselves. Life is a journey of learning.
Bill Scheessele is CEO/Founder of MBDi, a Business Development consultancy based in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the past 26 years, he has led a team of professionals who assist client firms in leveraging their high level expertise into bottom line business. Information on the company and the MBDi Business Development Process™ access: www.mbdi.com.