Yesterday, I wrote about the struggle to balance delivery and growth that every consultant needs to deal with.
Once we change our mindset and adopt a healthier way to look at selling, there are two main challenges consultants need to overcome to succeed with business development:
- Doing more growth-oriented work.
- Ensuring this work is actually generating results.
Doing More Business Development
To thrive, experts need to sell. But many consultants try to solve this challenge with brute force.
“I'll simply need to do more hours”, you repeat to yourself. It’s time to hustle. You start working 70-80 hours every week to ensure business development gets done no matter how busy things are.
But motivation and hustle are not enough, and throwing quantity at the problem is not the answer. What it does is lead you to a burnout.
You don’t need to lose your health to win more business. There are plenty of consulting partners who can thrive in business development while having a life after work and sleeping more than six hours a night.
Learning to offload tasks and prioritize is key, and time management is something that every partner needs to master. But when it comes to business development, what you need is above all consistency. You need to build the capacity to sell consistently and in all weathers.
The only way to do this is by adopting business development habits. Rainmakers regularly create, develop, and nurture relationships. Manage and review their sales opportunities. They have a process and system to do it, and they never miss a week.
Ensuring Your Work Is Effective
The second challenge is that, without a clear direction, it’s easy for us to adopt counterproductive behaviors that led nowhere.
Doing more of something makes you feel productive, but doesn’t necessarily generate the results you want. You’d be surprised to hear how often founders and consulting partners can’t answer the question: what do I want to achieve with my business development efforts?
Of course, you may want to achieve different things and your activities are likely to impact multiple parts of the business. But this is not a valid argument to avoid setting goals.
The power of goal-setting is a consensus in the business and social science domains. Goals lead to greater effort and persistence. Direct our attention and action away from distractions. Motivates us to learn more and enhance our skills.
Once you understand that business development can be learned, you begin to work on your mindset, skillset, and toolkit. But none of them are sufficient if you don't invest your efforts in a focused and consistent way.
The secret to sustainable, successful business development is twofold: well-designed habits to keep you moving through thick and thin, and clear, ambitious goals to know where you’re going.