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I’d like you to make a mental shift today, one that has proven to make already successful new business people stars within their respective agencies. 

For many in the role of business development, one of the most challenging aspects is that of proactive prospecting. It's a role that requires communicating with people -- a lot of people, all of the time. Fear is the ultimate barrier to success on this front. Knowing who to call, what to say, how to say it, and most importantly when to do so, are factors of procrastination -- but fear trumps them all.

Here’s a way that in my experience will immediately help you overcome fear and in turn, more effectively reach and engage more prospects more often to win more new business. 

Sell less and teach more.

Let’s clear something up, prospective prospecting is not about selling anything, yet.

Proactive prospecting for new business is about educating and interviewing prospects. This is a powerful concept when embraced and applied, and it will lead to immediate improvement in helping you accomplish your business development goals.

You have four things to do in your role as director of business development, all of which fall under the category of either educating or interviewing. If a task that you’re undertaking isn’t aligned with one of these four things, it’s time to re-prioritize as your performance and your associated compensation are tied directly to it.

The 4 Roles of a New Business Director

The four roles a new business professional must fulfill are:

  1. Researching
  2. Marketing
  3. Prospecting
  4. Selling

1) Researching translates to educating yourself:

  • On the issues pertinent to the pillars, the companies, and the people you’re pursuing for new business.
  • On the impact that these issues are having/will have (in financial or other measurable terms) if not solved.
  • On the importance of solving those issues now versus later (again in measurable terms).

2) Marketing translates to educating others:

  • On the issues that their category, their company, and they want to solve.
  • On the impact that these issues will have (in measurable terms) if not solved.
  • On the importance of solving those issues now versus later (again in measurable terms). 

3) Prospecting translates to educating others and educating yourself through effective interviewing:​

  • What is their issue?
  • What is the impact on them?
  • What is the importance to them?

4) Selling translates to educating others:

  • How you’d solve the problem -- issue
  • The dramatic results you’ll deliver -- impact
  • The sense of urgency -- importance of now

Once you better understand your role as a new business director -- to teach and educate -- you'll be able to build out a framework and process for interviewing prospects. This will help you to overcome proactive prospecting fears, reach and engage more prospects more often, and more effectively identify and win more new business.

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Originally published Dec 18, 2015 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016