Did you hear the one about the last man on Earth? So here he is, standing on a desolate corner in Anytown USA, scanning his surroundings in search of life. A sound, a spark of light, the rustle of leaves on the floor…there’s nothing. Until a phone rings in an office not far away. He answers the phone, and for a moment; the world starts to spin again.
What the hell am I talking about? Good question. The short answer is: nothing and everything all at once. See I started with a story to grab you on an emotional level. Now, we are engaged in a conversation that can go in a million different paths. How often do you meet someone, and they start out with “did you hear the one about…”? Would you really walk away with zero interest whatsoever? By nature, you, me, we humans are wired to seek a resolution to the story or joke.
Our Friend In The Story Doesn’t Matter
No, his life is irrelevant. It’s really about the conversation you and I are about to have. When navigating through the white-noise of today, exchanging stories is a conduit to meaningful connections and inspiring relationships. At the cross-section of simplicity and substance is where the new breed of Business Development operates.
The Business Development Creed
A while back I wrote a piece for Advertising Week called “Marketers, Here is Our Creed”, and as a continuation of that thought, here is the Business Development Creed.
Let us develop business not for our own personal agendas or glorification, but to continuously push the envelope in our value and strategic thinking
Sure, a business developer’s essential duty is to grow the business, or as the title states: develop business, but we are more than that. And our perceived value is much different in the marketing/advertising/branding world vs. the broader business world.
For example, a digital marketing agency may have a business development director whose main objective is to sell SEO packages. So he sells and sells and sells because his salary depends on it. But that approach brings up a major problem… Is he selling for the betterment of the client, or the betterment of his bank account, not caring about the client? Even further, does his client really need SEO, or would a content + social media strategy be better suited?
In this scenario, our stories and strategies die because they play the “me card” over and over again.
Trading Me for We
The “me card” is exactly just that. The point when business development is more about the house than the neighborhood. Yes, the house needs to stand, but without the neighborhood, it is just sitting there lonely with no visitors.
For our stories to have meaning, business development needs to consistently add value. We should be strategic by nature and tactical by trade. Sometimes we come bearing bad news, but it should be in our ethical code that at least we do it standing tall.
Saving The World
So getting back to our friend, armed with the ability to sell stories and grow business, all while having a specific strategy aligned with goals, it is now his turn to connect, collaborate with and close the deal. Not just for himself, but for the progress of the agency, the industry, and all of humanity.