It is important to see that business developers with very strong relationships are not easy to reach. It is a bit like being on the wrong side of the horse, because although they usually are in high demand, so companies that want to develop their business have to wait their turn and pay non-standard market rates. Moreover, this trend looks set to become even stronger due 2020. A good business developer is now as rare as hen’s teeth.
A rare bird
By region or by country, business development firms usually reach a stage in their development where they can choose their partners. It is important to screen potential partners, because a true business developer is attracted to success and, if this is not assured, the core motivation is lost. In addition, these firms are particularly comfortable with their partners and, although there is room for expansion in terms of capacity, this is usually immediately taken up by the new demands of existing partners. Of course, there are limits to capacity development, as maintaining quality is critical for them, and development must be effective. This means that experienced colleagues are needed for every project. In fact, it is typical of a truly successful company that all partners receive the highest level of expertise, whether they need it on a small or large scale, whether the partner requiring development is a startup or a giant multinational. This is precisely the essence of the process and the reason why the very strong relationship described above can develop, where, of course, chemistry plays a major role alongside expertise. It is true that business developers are not the most pleasant people to be around because they are perfectionists, they are critical, and they have a very strong sense of justice. I talk to people I know in this circle about the importance of being convinced that the client deserves to succeed. This is what gives the job that extra something that can make a business strategy in these troubled times not just good, but brilliant, and the company that adopts it not just survive, but, bucking market trends, even thrive. In other words, it is at this point that the human factors come into play that can make or break extra motivation. Something that cannot be expressed in monetary terms. Does the developer want to give it to the client beyond the terms of the contract, or does he prefer to keep it for himself?
Real business developers are selective on a human basis, so of course, there are those who think a developer is one of the world’s greatest, but of course, there are also negative statements on the other side. The latter doesn’t really affect business developers, as the opinions of those who fail them on a human level don’t matter at all. In fact, a new trend is to provide potential business partners with the contact details of the managers of the companies that have been “fired” as a reference, saying that if a visibly and perceptibly malicious opinion influences a company to develop its own business, they should not be allowed to start working with that company. They also believe that everyone should be able to make decisions about their own business and not be influenced by the opinions of others. Of course, that is all well and good, but you still need to be informed about those to whom you want to entrust the future of your business. Recognising this need, more and more business developers are choosing to organise open workshops where they can present their own methodology. In many cases, part of the programme is an attempt to discourage the potential buyer. They are aware of the pitfalls of real business development work and try to bring them to the surface early in the relationship, before the client spends a lot of money, or they put a lot of work into the project. Of course, very few clients see this side of things. Good business developers do a much larger amount of work in the first few months of a new business development project; usually several times more than the business partners actually have to pay for. It is not good business for them to close a project in a short time. Good business development delivers results early, but they are usually not directly traceable. Things just start to “develop” somehow. In many cases, the partner also wants to separate the present results from the business development, saying that where there are results, there is no actual business development. However, this is the essence of real, complex business development, that it permeates the whole business organisation, including the mindset of people. In many cases, the very fact that top managers attend business development workshops is a trigger. But a lack of recognition can lose the motivation of the business developer.