A Compelling Question

For my fellow Business Development Professionals – a compelling question:

During many Business Development conversations I have been asked, “How do you define success?” This is absolutely the best question to start off a conversation because it aligns goals and expectations among all parties.

My answer is that I see three levels of success:

The first level of success is introducing my client to a well vetted connection. This can take a few weeks or months to accomplish effectively, and can represent many meetings, emails and favors prior to the actual introduction. This necessary work is essentially invisible to my client until the meeting.

The second level of success is leveraging that connection to help my client receive an opportunity. After that initial meeting, coaching my client through a “proper” follow up so trust can be established, and a relationship starts is essential.

The third level of success is seeing my client close the deal and win a project. In most cases I have the least influence here; I don’t set pricing or negotiate the terms. The effectiveness of the client closing the deal is key to everyone feeling good about the engagement.

In all cases, consistent communication and alignment of expectations are essential to achieving any level of success.