To be more successful in whatever you are doing in business, either you consult with a client, you want to sell a software solution, or you apply for a new position or proposition: You have to amp up your A-game in those Cs that your Business Development Personality shows weaknesses. You need to get a solid framework and baseline in all of them, either with stronger content, better communication skills, or improved networking behavior.
Subject Matter Experts
If you are a subject matter expert, content is your turf. But you most likely need to work on your communication and networking skills. If you are not able to tailor all your knowledge, your expertise into a format that an audience can understand, that addresses their real requirements, their challenges, their risks - you won’t reach your maximum potential in your career. You still might be able to talk to your peers; if you have built contacts and network amongst them. But have you really invested in building out a network and audience that you can talk to? To advance in your career you need to be able to communicate appropriately to the situation and have an audience that wants to listen to you. You have to learn to “read the room” before your session but even more so once get started. Get an understanding of how to answer the “what’s in it for me” question. Engage the audience into your moderation by asking specific attendees about their opinion on a topic you are talking about. Therefore, spend time to look over sales and communication methods that give you structure and tactics to fine-tune your messaging. Make sure that it’s repeatable so you can use it anytime you need to make your point. An excellent concept to adapt such a distinctive communication tool-set comes from my mentor and friend Tom Batchelder, the Author of “Barking up the dead Horse” and Mastermind of Selling180[i]. Adapting a method like that, you'll outperform in every conversation coming up, either with your manager, in a sales pitch, or in an interview.
The Leader & Moderator
You are the story teller. You always win an audience when you are in the front of them. You are a natural. But if there isn't an audience to whom you can tell your story? Or the audience is highly subject matter driven and you are not deep enough into the topic? What will advance you in your career is spending more time on content and on building up a quality network of contacts. And you don’t need to deep-dive into the technical details, that’s for the content expert. But you form the content towards your target audience, which you have thoughtfully selected and built-up beforehand. Networking was yesterday, today it is about “connecting”. The vast majority of my career I have had great success by referrals through my connections. And it is through these connections you must offer yourself first, be of value, and be of help. No expectations, life is not just about transactions. There is nothing worse than “networkers” who just want to connect to ask a favor. Stay away from those, and rather ask questions about the other person, what’s on their mind, and how you could be of help. You’ll realize that a high quality network will evolve and make opportunities appear almost automatically.
You are a great networker, your LinkedIn Account has a good amount of contacts and you know the who-is-who of your market segment and influencers. You feel strong in your small talk capabilities and people admire you and feel entertained and “safe” with you. But when it comes to analyzing the situation you're in, to identify the opportunity that is on the table, and to take action to sell, and to ask for business, or your promotion - then you are not ready. Why? Because you are not deep enough into the content that applies to the situation, or you lack the right storyline and emphasis on your "win-themes"[ii] to "pitch" your value. The remedy for you is to focus on your communication approach, like described for our content expert from above. And like our Leader & Moderator, getting a better understanding of content, will make you a trusted advisor much more often than just a nice hangout.
Key Take Away
You need to have an audience to talk/sell to or rely on. What’s the benefit if you are a strong communicator and content specialist, if you don’t have someone to tell about it? Invest time to build your network, your connections, your referrers, warm introducers, mentors and coaches.
There is no capitalization on your knowledge and good network if you don’t know how to make your case. You must be able to structure, fill and fine-tune your story that it is tailored to your audience, that its visually appealing, entertaining, engaging, and to the point. And, most importantly: Your audience needs an answer to “What’s in it for me?” when leaving you.
Being a sophisticated talker and entertainer but not having a solid story to talk about is a nightmare. You must have a robust (macro)-understanding of your target market, the trends, the technology, the regulations, the competition your meeting partner is doing business in, or has a serious interest in. Your micro-understanding should at least be about your history with your counterpart, what keeps them up at night, how you helped others to solve for that, and what has worked and what did not.
If you focus on these 3 Cs of Success, you’ll get more traction in all your ventures and your efforts to grow personally and commercially become more effective and sustainable.
About the Author
Mathias “Mat” Hausherr is a Sales Trainer and Managing Partner of Transatlantic Partners Group, a US-based consulting boutique that advises Swiss companies launching and growing their business in the United States. In addition, Mat is an Affiliate Partner with Selling180.com, the U.S. Lead for SAMBA and serves as the Chairman of the Swiss AMCHAM Southern California. He’s an Executive MBA Alumni of the University of St. Gallen, and holds Bachelor Degrees in Finance and in Engineering.
[i] Tom Batchelder, Selling 180: Practical Tips for Effective Sales Communication - ISBN: 979-8644363292 - Order on Amazon here
[ii] A win theme is the reason why your proposition is distinct and of value for your audience.