March 18, 2024

Uncorking Business Development Strategies (for professionals who are not officially in sales roles.)

The challenges of business development:

  • Rachel, a lawyer, acknowledged that finding new clients is difficult and therefore usually gets pushed down her daily "to do" list.
  • Michael, another lawyer, said that staying "top of mind" with previous clients was challenging.
  • Addler didn't speak up at all. As an introvert, he was outside of his comfort zone even attending a social event after work.
  • The room agreed with Izzy when he said that finding decision makers has become considerably more difficult due to added regulation and general trends towards playing things safe.
  • Ruprecht, the author of this post, was busy selling his books and assigning fake names to keep everyone's comments anonymous, including his own.

And thus kicked off our recent wine and whine session where around 20 of us met up to taste wine and discuss the challenges and opportunities around building sales pipelines, especially for those who are not in full-time sales roles.

Networking for introverts or other professionals who do not have a system can be stressful.

How to improve Business Development?

Build a System.

Good prospecting comes down to having an effective, repeatable system.

Develop smart processes. Systems are comprised of processes. What does a process look like in this case? It can include building a prospect list, testing messaging, creating a networking plan, working on smart questioning strategies and developing follow up tactics.  

Learn to qualify prospects in and out professionally. Another aspect of a Business Development system is how to qualify prospects in and out. This is a learned skill and can be done in a way that is not salesy, self-promoting nor aggressive. In fact, if done correctly, it massively enhances credibility.

Build and Manage Channels: Part of a great business development system includes developing #channels. From standard referrals to partnerships to creative sales ecosystems, these kinds of efforts can provide excellent sources for new leads.

Following up is an art and a science. The science is in the consistency, the art is in the creative ways to stay top of mind. Smart follow up combined with clearly communicated response expectations will set up a stronger relationship.

Customer experience matters. Pay attention to the entire customer experience, from the initial interaction to post-sales support.

Thanks again to Petersons Wine for hosting!

Let's talk about A.I. No 2024 event would be complete without discussing #A.I. Will artificially intelligent bots be able to find and nurture opportunities for us while we sit back and sip our chardonnay? Or will Terminator-like gatekeepers appear preventing any and all human interaction? Nurturing leads is essentially saying, "I'll be back," so we'll be keeping a close eye on finding the most effective AI tools that can help grow our businesses.

That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you sign on as a client.

Like it or not, many of us are responsible for selling and the best way to grow a book of business is to have a system to find, qualify, close and grow customers. From lawyers to consultants to entrepreneurs raising money, having a business development system will make things easier and that goes for any customer-facing roles.

Reach out if you'd like some help. I'll be at the wine bar.


For those of you who do not know me, I help teams with the topics discussed above. I build sales pipelines and develop leadership training programs that help companies increase business across regions and prepare next-gen leaders for tomorrow's global threats and #hybridwork opportunities. My courses and coaching are both live and digital.

I wrote a book about the lessons learned, good, bad and ugly, when expanding into foreign markets called The Accidental Business Nomad: A Survival Guide for Working Across a Shrinking Planet. It makes fun of the hyper-growth expectations over the last few decades and won the Axiom Business Book Award and the audiobook is narrated by the guy who does the Jack Reacher books, which is pretty cool.

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