How Business Development Can be Like – Sex

business development

Imagine, just for a moment, that you’re a 21-year-old virgin and you think it’s time to change that. You want a relationship. So, what do you do?

  • Start calling and emailing prospects?
  • Attend loud parties and attempt meaningful conversations?
  • Hire a matchmaker?
  • Broadcast to friends and associates that you’d really love to hook up with someone?

Okay, so you’re not a 21-year-old virgin looking for a relationship. But if you’re a small business owner, marketing director, or business development individual you know that the desire for new business can feel just as strong. And as silly as some of those virgin strategies sound, they are the same strategies that small businesses use when it comes to finding new business.

Is There a More Effective Business Development Strategy?

Of course, effective business development strategies depend to a large extent on the business and industry. For example, most doctors expect to be called on by pharmaceutical sales reps pushing the latest drug. In many cases they develop personal relationships with these reps. However, if you’re in most other types of small business, your sales calls and emails will not be so well-received.

Popular networking events are generally loud and crowded with people less interested in your business than their own. When speaking, you’re often forced to yell. And, often you’ll find a business card in your face before you know it.

Broadcasting your new business need to friends and associates can be effective, but it can also convey the message that your business is…well, not doing so great.

What’s the Best Strategy?

While even the most savvy business owners have probably had to chase business at some point, they know that it’s always better to attract business. Steve Jobs knew this even when he was working out of his garage and ‘The Law of Attraction’ is as old as Buddha. So, how do you attract?

There are, of course, many ways and, again, what’s most effective for you will depend somewhat on your particular business and industry. That said, for the small business owner, social media has certainly become one of the most popular. However, while it may be popular and inexpensive, many small businesses owners claim it’s not getting the results they desire. According to a 2013 Manta Research study over 60% of business owners say they haven’t seen any return on investment from their social media efforts. None.

So, if not social media, then what? Talk to five marketing experts and you may get five different answers. But, if you take a minute to research it (Search: “fastest growing online ad format”) you’ll find what businesses are having success with.

Whatever method you choose, the better you can attract, engage and impress your prospects, the more successful your business development will be.

Romance photo via Shutterstock


John Follis John Follis heads up Big Idea Video, creator of short format, high concept video that captivates and persuades prospects. According to Forbes, 76% of marketers invest in video and make it their #1 marketing strategy. John Follis honed his talents as Creative Director and Co-founder of Follis/DeVito/Verdi, one of Madison Avenue’s most successful, award winning ad agencies.

4 Reactions
  1. I love seeing the similarities. That’s true. It is better to attract business than chase them. They are more willing to buy that way and not feel so pressured to take out their wallets and buy.

  2. That certainly, uhm, an interesting analogy, but I see what you mean (in some ways). Taking action’s important.

  3. John: Isn’t the true sexual activity included a process of relationship building from knowing the person, liking the individual, and then trusting the partner and then having an “inter-course” between two parties? That’s referral / relationship marketing in a nutshell.

    • Martin: Yes, and no. “Yes” if you’re realtor, insurance salesperson, or financial advisor where ‘trust” is a critical factor. In most other cases it’s more about getting prospects to know, love, and really want the product…the thing. Either way, video is a powerful, effective medium to use.

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