Successful professionals have the right attitude for developing business. Following are five attitudes that you should cultivate in order to handle the ups and downs of marketing your practice and closing engagements:
ONE: You are on exactly the same footing as prospects during the selling process as you are when they hire you as an expert. No matter how much you want to get hired, do not chase clients. Instead, set up your marketing so that clients want to come to you. Then, when you have conversations to convert prospects to clients, do not negotiate from a weak position. Instead, you are willing to walk if the client seems unlikely to hire you. This means that you are perfectly willing to call the client out – politely of course – if it seems like they are not serious about moving forward or they don’t have the budget. In other words, you ask the questions you really want to ask about whether the client is committed to solving their problem and has the money and decision making power to do so.
TWO: When you meet with prospects, you are not there to solve their problem before you are even hired, or to make some sort of magical sales pitch, or to go to extraordinarily desperate lengths to get them to hire you. Instead, you work together with the prospect to figure out whether there is a fit or not. Business development should be a collaborative effort, not a one-sided affair. If you feel like you are working too hard to get the client to say “yes,” then you probably care more about the client’s problem than they do, and they will either waste your time or take advantage of you. If there is a fit, great. If not, move on while leaving the door open should the client’s situation change.
THREE: You don’t take rejection personally. Instead, think of yourself like a scientist experimenting to figure out what works best for you. If you keep trying new approaches, eventually you will find the best strategies and tactics for growing your practice. Be curious and interested, and learn from your experiences. For instance, test and learn the best responses to different objections, until you are an expert on the best ways to answer your prospect’s concerns. Similarly, recognize that a “no” is just a “no.” It doesn’t mean anything except what you choose to make it mean. If anything, a prospective client who says “no” is doing you a favor because now you can spend your time in better ways than chasing them down for an answer or responding to their never-ending questions and objections. So don’t take objections or rejection personally.
FOUR: Think of listening and curiosity as attitudes to cultivate. If you ask great questions to understand the client’s problem and how serious it might be, and if you listen to the client’s answers without adding your own assumptions, the client will tell you whether they see enough value in hiring you, how they want to work with you, and whether they have the money to pay you.
FIVE: You are willing to work harder than anyone else to succeed. A lot of this business is about showing up and sticking around long enough for people to associate you with valuable solutions to important problems. The harder you work at business development, the more you will learn, the more people you will know who think about you first when they have a problem you can solve, and the more credible you will become.
Take a moment to assess your own attitudes about business development. Where do you need an attitude adjustment? What attitude do you need to generate to be proactive, positive, and powerful with your business development?