Over the last 6-12 months, I have been coaching many people who are very new to winning their own clients. Interestingly, they have all suffered from this one attitude problem. Your business development mindset is key to whether you win work or not. This blog post explains what this attitude is and how to get over it.

Business development mindset: This is key to whether you are successful with business development.

When you are new to business development, the last thing you want to do is do something which will be a new-business-limiting move. Unfortunately, this desire to get it right and not be seemingly too pushy, often has the opposite effect. It stops us from having that extra conversation, reaching out to that well placed introducer or asking the question which will determine whether there is work to come or not.

What is the attitude required?

So, what is the business development mindset or attitude which is needed? It is being brave. This means:

  • Sending a LinkedIn request to someone you don’t know, who could be very useful to you going forward.
  • Asking a potential introducer on the 2nd or 3rd time you meet them, in what circumstances would you be able to refer me?
  • Doing more than just ‘liking’ people’s posts on LinkedIn.
  • Producing your own content and sharing it widely.
  • Getting yourself really out there with the aim of purposefully growing your profile and visibility
  • Posting up content on social media and putting your own spin on the content.
  • Contacting someone ahead of a conference to see if they will be there and suggesting meeting up.
  • Getting back in contact with someone you have lost contact with, perhaps someone at university or an advisor on a deal you did.
  • Asking if they have any plans to change their auditors in the near future

All of these scenarios where bravery is needed is where we typically face the real fear of rejection or the fear that we may do something wrong or offend someone.

Business development is a numbers game.

The thing is, business development is a numbers game. Not everyone will be able to refer you. Not everyone will be able to or will want to engage you or your firm and your agenda may not match someone else’s agenda. The key to getting comfortable with this, i.e. your business development mindset, is to accept this reality. For me, this is all part of the fun of business development. I see it as a game and I’m always looking for better ways to win this game. As soon as you accept that a ‘no’ now means a ‘not yet’, it becomes much easier to ask the next question. When you do get told ‘no’, this for me is often an opportunity to be happy. I know that that sounds weird, but once I get told ‘no’ it means that I don’t need to waste any more time on this prospect or introducer.

There is little risk that you will offend someone on social media.

Given that the majority of accountants, lawyers and consultants I work with are exceptionally bright and talented people, there is little risk that they are going to offend someone with their activities on social media. So why, then, do so many of us let this irrational worry hold us back from getting ourselves ‘really out there’? If you do manage to offend someone on social media, it normally says more about where they are at, rather than anything you have done.

It’s time to shift your mindset.

When it comes to being brave with business development, the key is to get comfortable with being out of your comfort zone. It means shifting your mindset from ‘what if this were to go wrong?’, to ‘what if this were to go right?’ and my favourite question to ask my clients about, when they are hesitating or procrastinating with a particular course of business development activity, is what’s the worst that can happen?

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