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8 business development skills you should master

by | Jun 20, 2019

Business development skills you should master and how they will help you build a successful career. Check out our handpicked shortlist!

Being a business developer can be challenging and at the same time, highly rewarding. We are responsible for growing our companies finding new opportunities. Becoming successful in our field comes from a mix of dedication, hard work and skills that can let you stand out.

Business development comes hand in hand with your personal development. The more you learn, the more you are curious, the more you will be able to spot opportunities and build a successful career.

Because our field is so vague, there isn’t just one formula or one big skill that will do the trick. On the contrary, if you’re planning to enter in business development or grow professionally, you need to enter in a new mindset.

You have to be ready to embrace different skills, feel uncomfortable and push your limits. As business developer, you have to be ready to question yourself and quickly improve when you see fit.

While there isn’t just one checklist of skills you should develop, you can start by mastering these skills which make good business developers as successful as they are.

Related article: Business Development Guide

1. Business Developers are very curious

As a business developer, you need a driving force that makes you want to discover new areas and enhance your knowledge. The more you know about your market and customers the better for your positioning in the long-term.

If you are curious about your market and industry, it will facilitate your way of approaching the right customers. This will also help to establish credibility towards potential customers. Moreover, once you identified customers that might make a great fit, stay motivated to find out more about them.

What information do you need from your customer? It might be exaggerating to say you need to know them like the back of your hand, but the more information you can gather, the better. Certainly, it is important to get familiar with the products and services.

Secondly, figure out what projects and plans the customer is working on. The more you become aware of that, the easier you will be able to solve customer problems. This will also help you to develop stronger business relationships.

As customers have so many options it is crucial as a business developer to set up good and strong relations to them and this, in turn, brings long term value for both sides. To build up long-term relations requires to provide the customers with a satisfying amount of continuous value.

2. Business Developers are great learners

Being good at business development means being good at developing yourself. The real key to success in our field is how fast you are compared to your competitors.

Your job is to spot new opportunities for growth and you can only achieve that if you are aware of what’s going on around you. So, you have to be a good learner.

Read books, articles, watch videos, learn new skills and techniques. Make sure to be always one step ahead and to never stop learning.

I always like to read news from different fields or industries. Because in this way I get new input that can help me boost my creativity and find new ways to grow my company.

3. Business Developers are adaptable

As business developer you will work on many different projects. Some easier, some not. But in all cases you need to be quick at adapting yourself.

The slower you are, the less the chances for you to succeed in your job. Good business developers are very quick when it comes to change. We are able to shift mindset and be operative in a short amount of time.

It’s definitely not always easy, especially if you work on something very dynamic. But the point is that if you don’t accept the change, you will just get stuck and you are gonna lose opportunities.

Take your time to analyze the new status, reconcile yourself and start getting things done. ASAP.

4. Business Developers are great at problem-solving

Good business developers are usually very good at problem-solving. The main reason for this is that as business developers, we usually face a lot of rejection and hostility at first.

Whenever we approach a new customer or partner, we encounter all the arguments and potential problems that come with the process. Therefore, it’s very wise to work on your problem-solving skills soon in your career.

What’s important in business development, is to keep a positive attitude and find creative solutions to your problem. But even before that, it all starts from looking at things in a different way.

If you want to be successful in business development, start looking at problems more like of opportunities of growth.

5. Business Developers ask a lot of questions and listen more than they talk

You know your sector and your customers? Good work! Let’s go a step further and consider more aspects.

Being a good listener, is great in many circumstances in life and this applies also to your work as business developer. Listen to potential customers intently to identify their needs, motivations and to meet their expectations.

By doing this, you will be able to ask better and more relevant questions that will help you understand even better your audience.

This goes hand in hand with emotional intelligence. Just like the saying, “read between lines”, understanding the incentives of customers and their not outspoken expectations, help you to figure out what makes this customers potentially buy. 

6. Business Developers are highly committed

Among the business development skills you should own, there is definitely self discipline and commitment. Obviously, this is valid in almost any field in life. However, because in business development you need time to see results, you have to be ready to fully commit to what you’re doing.

For example, it can take up to a year (or more) for a big partner to finally agree to partner up with you. What would happen if after 3 months, you get tired of being rejected?

The point is, business development is a long term game, the more you understand you need to the commitment the more results you’ll get.

7. Business Developers are trustworthy

The value of engagement goes hand in hand with building up a customer’s trust. It is a great success to get valuable customers on board! To sustain that relation, try to always be honest with the customer.

You are the link between the customers and the company, so transparency and trustworthiness are essential. Give your customer space for sharing ideas to build up a good level of trust and to ensure mutually beneficial projects and outcomes.

8. Business Developers are persistent

Last in this list of business development skills is being persistent. When I started at Housing Anywhere a couple of years ago, we had a saying from our founder.

Niels would keep repeating: “Persistence is key”. Staying engaged even if challenging times are approaching is very important and fundamental.

Especially in business development, you need to endure a lot to see results. Don’t give upand make sure to attack present problems to have your reward you in the future.

These business development skills are key for anyone who wants to be successful in this role. The common point here is that you are able to build strong relationships with customers and partners, using different skills at once.

Make sure to reserve some time to learn and be continuously improve yourself. Only in this way you will be able to climb the ladder of business development and establish yourself as a credible professional.

Do you want to improve, but don’t know how? Check out our business development course and ask for more info!

Author

Katrin Lindenbauer

Content Writer at The BD School

I am curious about discovering exciting opportunities. On this way, I am working on creating meaningful content to motivate others to also seek for new interesting experiences.

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