Business Development Series Posted by David McDermott


As we live through an extremely difficult economic environment and uncertain future, we thought it would be useful to identify 3 common mistakes that business development professionals make when under pressure in tough market conditions.

We call them chasing, pushing and discounting.

Question: Are you increasing your BD activity and chasing every opportunity possible?

If you are we encourage you to think again. This usually results in half the effort being placed into double the opportunities and ultimately less business is won. Focus on the ones you can win and place your energies here. Get the right people involved and be clear about your differentiators and how you add value. This has been proven to be the right strategy in past recessions. Remember, your existing clients are often the low hanging fruit that’s left on the tree.

Key point: If you wouldn’t chase an opportunity in good times, don’t chase it in bad.

Question: Are you trying harder than ever to bring in business because times are tough?

If you are we encourage you to think again. It may be that you are under pressure to get results, worried and concerned. You are perhaps experiencing this extra pressure because you are chasing after every possible deal. If so, the likelihood is that you are cutting corners and your anxiety will be noticed. Always take time to understand your client’s business, issues, problems and needs.

Key point: Focus on your client’s needs, not your own.

Question: Are you offering discounts because you think price is more important ever?

If you are we encourage you to think again. Offering reduced fees or prices unprovoked will only result in reduced margins. There is no evidence to suggest that clients are more focused on price in a recession. The evidence shows that clients become more risk averse in difficult times. So, be a safe pair of hands and minimise risk.

Key point: Reduce risk not fees

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