It is often said that the only things you can truly count on are death and taxes, but when it comes to business development, there is another surety.
Perhaps you’re already scoffing. After all, business development results are so unpredictable. The client who said they would engage you yesterday just hired your competitor. The referral source who “owes you one” has never reciprocated. The Pulitzer-grade proposal you just turned in didn’t even make the prospect’s short list. And your last piece of business came from a random stranger you met on an elevator.
It’s true that there is often no linear relationship between the opportunities you chase and the ones you win. But there is a highly dependable principle when it comes to business development: investing in relationships always pays off.
If you put in a consistent effort to build meaningful relationships with people who can hire or refer your services, you will eventually develop business. As obvious as that sounds, the majority of your peers who want a book of business will insist they are too busy to implement this advice. They won’t carve out the time for the long game, they won’t get out from behind their desks, and they won’t develop a network of potential buyers and referral sources—which is why they will eventually report to you.
So keep putting yourself out there and don’t be deterred when it takes longer than you expected. Your relationships will pay off in the long run. You can bet your future on it.