Business (n) - a person, partnership, or corporation engaged in commerce, manufacturing, or a service; profit-seeking enterprise or concern
The word “business” is thrown around with a multitude of meanings. The tones associated with business often include ease, sarcasm, intensity and firmness among many others and allow a “person, partnership or corporation” to adopt a variety of true (whatever you conceive that word to be) meanings.
So what does business truly mean? And business development? That’s even more confusing. Are we (who are we?) supposed to bring in more clients, grow the company in terms of employees, develop strategies, build decks?
Development (n) - the act or process of developing; growth; progress.
Real estate….development. Business….development. Financial….development. At the root of the word, conveniently or inconveniently, you find, another word; develop. We’ll leave that right there for the time being.
So……how do we think about Business Development at CTC?
There’s a consistent effort to avoid the feeling that we are “selling” to any potential clients, entrepreneurs, marketers or business owners here at CTC. But if you really believe in what you are doing, you should want to share that belief with others, right? When I think about sales and business development, it’s comparable to the progression of a friendship (at least someone you are meeting for the first time with a likelihood of becoming closer).
You introduce yourselves to them and you most likely forget their name, immediately. Why? because you are focused on your name (which you’ve had since you were born, maybe you’ve changed it but I doubt it). Why? because you want to make a good impression? So what happens next. Do you start talking about yourself or ask a question? Do you comment on something they are wearing or doing, or just sit and wait. Do you know anything about them? probably not but that’s the beauty of the relationship that may or may not take shape. It’s a blank canvas, an empty duffle bag that you can fill with whatever you want (clearly with the understanding that you are interested in certain things and have specific relational skills) but you develop the roadmap together. Maybe they’re wearing a Denver Broncos hat and that’s great because you’re from Colorado. But maybe they’re not and that’s great too. Maybe they have a watch from the same brand as the one on your wrist, but maybe they don’t and maybe they don’t even care about watches. So where are you supposed to start and what are you supposed to do?
Listen (v) - to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear
The main difference between business development and sales is the idea that said canvas is relatively blank and the first step to start to paint it, is by listening not speaking. Traditionally, sales can be tied to products, services, items and this true sense of tangibility. But how do you sell human service? How does a restaurant sell the service of it’s wonderfully kind wait staff? How does a therapist sell their service? or a doctor understand what to prescribe? By listening. The work of a dedicated, truthful and malleable agency should be the same. So when I think about introducing myself to someone at a lunch meeting, over coffee on my first day at the office or a distant relatives new fiancee at the Christmas party, I shouldn’t even think about my name. I should walk away with their name, and a token of appreciation for the possibility of something new.
So that brings me back the original point. Business, Development, or “Business Development” is the process of improving a person, partnership or meaningful relationship. From the growth that the employees of CTC experience through client interaction and our Tell Me Your Dreams program (dream identification program), to the strong relationships we’ve developed with our clients here at CTC, it’s important to understand how we as an agency, can come alongside those that we work with as partners, friends and teammates in pursuit of each unique dream.
If one were to sit with the business development team here at CTC, you would quickly learn that none of us have a true sales background. We have no formal training in salesforce, it’s likely that we haven’t read or even studied traditional sales books + methodologies but what we do have is a group of people curious about the stories of other human beings. We don’t cold call nor do we have a dialing quota but we are wildly interested in helping more people achieve and pursue their dreams. For CTC to continue to in this pursuit it’s important that we give attention with ours ears, minds and hearts. “There is a difference between listening and waiting your turn to speak.” - Simon Sinek