How to Have More Successful Business Development Conversations

Business development is a title that many salespeople have adopted due to how much cleaner it sounds. Many believe “sales” is dirtier and cling on to the business development title instead.

However, as Andrew Dumont has illustrated in the past, there’s a vast difference between sales and business development.

When you’re undertaking business development, you’re creating partnerships with other businesses who have access to customers that would be a great fit for your own business. There’s a huge difference in how both are executed.

In this post, we’re going to give you three things to bear in mind when talking to potential partners. Some may be obvious to you but oftentimes it’s the simple things that get forgotten.

1. Talk less than your potential partner


You won’t learn much by talking. You should always be asking questions and listening very carefully. Uncovering their needs, challenges and finding ways that you can help overcome them should always come first.

You should be eliciting and understanding what their problems are so you can come in and save the day. If you can talk 50% less than your prospective partner does, then you’re more likely to become the preferred choice in a competitive marketplace.

2. Establish rock-solid relationships


Many salespeople will get to know their prospects on a superficial level. Oftentimes it’s all about volume. With business development this isn’t the case.

Going deeper with a small number of partners when undertaking business development activity is much more effective than creating shallow relationships with hundreds.

When you delight and put extra effort into your partner relationships, they’re a lot more likely to provide you with profitable opportunities. Get their respect by getting to know them and their business inside-out.

3. Focus on their objectives, not yours


This is basic sales & marketing 101, but always focus around what your potential partner needs as opposed to what you offer. Again, this goes back to listening (sensing a theme here?) and figuring out what their requirements are.

This helps you to refine your proposition to address their needs and can help pave the way forward with other opportunities. It doubles as a learning experience.



As I’ve said previously, all of these techniques revolve around listening to your prospective partners and creating great relationships. Because that’s really the essence of all business development activity.

One final tip to wrap this up; shift away from an outcome-oriented mindset and into one of abundance. Go in to each interaction with the objective to make the other person’s life or business better.

Do this and you’ll quickly create trust with those you want to connect with, and they’ll end up loving you.


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