The True Essence of Business Development: Closing Deals, Not People

Sep 29, 2023

In the fast-paced world of business, it's easy to get caught up in the allure of quick profits and commissions. Many so-called "gurus" preach the gospel of closing deals at all costs, as if the ultimate goal is to conquer and dominate. But is that really the path to sustainable success, or are we missing something more profound?

1. Valuing People and Cultivating Relationships: In the pursuit of long-term success, shifting focus away from short-term gains and prioritizing the value of people and the relationships we build is a better strategy. It's a well-known fact that genuine relationships lead to compound revenue growth and higher margins. Instead of fixating on one-time profits or commissions, let's invest in the currency of trust, respect, and authenticity.

2. Real People, Real Relationships: Our clients aren't statistics or faceless entities; they are living, breathing human beings with dreams, aspirations, opportunities and concerns. They deserve to be treated as such. Rather than relying on manipulative tactics and exhausting, hollowed-out word tracks, we should seek to understand their values, needs, and goals and align with them in the very real opportunity to create shared goals and objectives. By doing so, we become true, highly-valued partners in their success, not just another salesperson mistaking self-serving greed for what should be hunger to serve others and pursue our own success in that regard.

3. The ABCs of Business Development: Business development goes beyond the the Glengarry Glen Ross mantra spewed by the slimy, arrogant and demeaning character played by Alec Baldwin, "Always Be Closing".

ABC is about so much more...Always be curious, connecting, caring, and collaborating in the interest of serving while selling.

These actions are far more effective in building unbreakable relationships with our clients than trying to constantly "close" them. When we genuinely care about their well-being, we create lasting ties that bind us into the future.

4. Closing Deals, Not People: Let's make one thing clear – we don't "close" people; we close deals and transactions. The focus should be on helping clients make the best decisions for themselves, not pushing them into something that serves our agenda. The client's satisfaction and success should always be our primary consideration. Once we achieve this, earn trust and deliver real value...we intuitively feel the trust and close the deal together with our client.

5. Beyond Ego-Driven Tactics: The hype surrounding ego-driven, commoditized tactics is nothing more than pomp, circumstance and deafening white noise. It's the chest-thumping of carnival barkers, not the approach of ethical professionals. If we're attracted to this circus, we must ask ourselves, at what cost to our integrity, self-perception and dignity in the long run.

The truth is, there's a better, more honorable way to achieve the results we seek. It involves common sense, generosity, and a commitment to our clients. Success lies within us, not in blindly following some cultish crowd shouting "Look at me!" around us. Let's set higher expectations for ourselves and align our actions with our clients' expectations of us as their most trusted resource and subject matter experts.

We can and should do better and set our expectations higher for ourselves. The minute that our clients expectations of us and how we should serve them as exceed our own expectations of ourselves...rejection, conflict and failure awaits us.

In the end, it's about serving our clients, not manipulating them into bad decisions. We don't "close people" – we close deals. Period. It's time to redefine our priorities, embrace authenticity, and build relationships that stand the test of time. This is the path to becoming not just successful but respected and trusted in the world of business development.

Sandy Cerami is a nationally-recognized Business Development Expert and Speaker. He is the creator of THE 7PILLARS OF KILLER BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT™, the most relatable, people-driven B2C and B2B revenue growth strategy in business today. He speaks, teaches and writes about topics ranging from Business Development and Leadership to Recruiting & Retaining Top Talent and Organizational Culture. For more information or to contact Sandy to speak at your next event or on-site with your team schedule a quick call here today!