Behavior Audit – Business Development

Generating new business is in the midst of being redefined.

Business development [Biz Dev] skills that worked so well a few years ago have significantly shifted because your customers are facing new and emerging challenges just like you are.

Here are five examples of what’s changed:


  • Growth used to mean bigger and better. Now it means deeper and stronger customer relationships.
  • Connection used to be done by establishing rapport. Now the expectation is building trust, which takes longer to establish.
  • One power player made buying decisions. Now the decision-making process involves multiple stakeholders, equally powerful yet with unique requirements.
  • Communication was focused on convincing others to buy. Now it’s shifted to offering fresh ideas and perspectives relevant to their challenges and adapting what you offer to fit their needs.
  • Getting the business then meant being the supplier of choice. Now it’s being deemed as a valued external provider who is an asset in dissecting emerging challenges and designing strategy without any guarantee of getting the business.

To get to the leading edge of this new model, means reshaping your thinking, unlearning habits and intentions, redefining what you measure, and adapting skill sets.

Warning! Reshaping your thinking is similar to learning a new language. Results won’t happen overnight, and you will feel like throwing in the towel at times.

This audit assumes four things:


  1. Everyone in your firm now has a biz dev role
  2. Biz dev has shifted from selling to being a strategic partner
  3. What contributed to your firm’s success in the past, may be what is hindering you from moving forward and evolving
  4. If you don’t disrupt the process, a known or unknown competitor will

What do you need to do to shift from getting a deal to being involved in up front discussions about emerging challenges?

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1. Become better at identifying and initiating key relationships that can     make or break our competitive advantage

2. Accept that not all customers are equal and apply a segmentation      process to determine best ways to effectively engage and influence      their thinking

3. Increase ability to build deeper and stronger relationships while adapting     to the new reality of a longer call cycle

4. Increase ability to establish trust and credibility with diverse influencers     and stakeholders

5. Increase ability to set and align expectations, from both sides, early and     often

6. Refine how we measure effort and results using relationship building as      a core value applying qualitative and quantitive metrics

7. Become deliberate in repositioning how others see me and what we offer

8. Rethink what actions will help us remain relevant to key relationships

9. Increase engagement levels with clients and colleagues through better     active listening, responsiveness and problem-solving

10. Rethink how I coach team members, so they communicate our unique       value add and actively engage in a relationship building process that       improves the customer's situation

11. Learn to nuance messages for a wider circle of audience levels

12. Become more intentional and deliberate when influencing outcomes

13. Increase ability to use mistakes, setbacks and successes as       opportunities for developing myself and my team members

14. Challenge my team’s ability to embrace diverse perspectives, ask better       questions, be open to collaborating, and to offer their opinions and       suggestions

15. Increase ability to negotiate in meetings that are intense and       competitive

16. Develop greater levels of political competence

17. Increase my social sensitivity and perceptiveness with others

18. Learn better ways to handle customer discussions with people who are       competitive, critical and skeptical

19. Develop my colleagues ability to be creative by thinking through       situations, framing problems and evaluating options

20. Provide meaningful incentives for changing behaviors that will improve       our customer’s experience

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