…and is likely a big reason for the success of just about every great startup you can name. Doing Business Development well doesn’t just mean that you know how to build relationships with anyone who can help you achieve your goal. And it is more than just being tenacious and ego-free. Somehow you need to be an advocate, an advisor, a consultant, a strategy person and very quick on your feet, always figuring out a positive next step for every discussion, no matter how bleak you may feel on the inside.
I’ve been doing this sort of work for a long time, here are a few tips:
- Is your phone number in your e-mail signature on both your laptop and your phone?
- Is your e-mail address listed there?
- How about your Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile?
You want to be able to solve problems for people who don’t know you well. Make sure that they can find your information whenever it occurs to them that they want to reach you.
- Be timely – Business Development is not dating, so don’t play hard to get. Answer e-mails, texts and calls in less than a day. If you don’t, your potential partner may well have moved on to work with someone else on a completely different project.
- Ask for help, give help, say thank you. And by all means, write down exactly what you are looking for when you are asking for an introduction.
- Write thank you e-mails. You would be amazed at how few people write thank you notes.
Today’s Big Trick — Take your meeting scheduling into the 21st century. A while back, the phone system and conference call system providers decided that a comma (,) means pause in a dialed phone number. You can use this to save time when you call your doctor or your insurance company. Just figure out their prompts and program in a few commas in between.
This trick can save lives. If you want everyone to get on your conference call and not drive off the road, there is a way to make it super easy way to get everyone on the call without asking them to memorize an 8 digit ID number in the middle of a busy day or in awful traffic on I-95. In the Location section of your calendar invite, put in the phone number, all by itself with no words. Format should be like this: 203-123-1234,,,xxxxxxxx#
Or you can put it in the body of the notes section, just do it on a completely separate line so that it can be easily copied and pasted into the dialer part of a phone. Let’s get the word out on this simple biz dev “hack” that can make conference calls just a little simpler.