Business development is, in part, a numbers game. As with baseball, the more times you are at bat, the more likely you are to get a hit. In the business development game, the more interactions you have with prospects, the more likely you are to get a new Client. But focusing on the numbers is only half the game. If that’s all you do, it could take you a lot of time and work to really see results.
To really improve your business development batting average, you also need skill – and a strategy. Start by working smarter, not harder. Look for the best prospects – the ones who are the most likely to hire you. Start with current Clients. They are writing you checks, so presumably they already like you.
Next you should consider prospects that you or someone else in your firm has a relationship with, but who are not currently your Clients. Because of the existing relationship, they are more likely to take a meeting with you and to be open to listening to your ‘pitch,’ assuming you deliver one that they can connect with.
After you have exhausted these, you can move to new prospects. But you need to be aware that you are a lot more likely to strike out with them. In fact, studies show that it can take up to seven times more time and effort to develop business with people you don’t have relationships with. Plus it will often involve a ‘cold call,’ which, for most people is a particularly ‘foul’ task.
The good news is that the more you practice, the better you will become – and the easier it will be. So swing for the fences. Who knows, you may even find that you like business development… especially when you are hitting homeruns.